Digital Publishing Platforms
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Facebook accused of deleting independent publisher pages

For quite some time now, and certainly since January’s change to its newsfeed algorithms, publishers have been right to be wary of Facebook and to focus instead on diversifying their traffic sources.

As tech journalist Simon Owens explained in his blog last month, “For nearly a decade, publishers had grown used to the firehose of Facebook referral traffic, in some cases launching entire media properties that were designed to profit from the cheap pageviews that the platform was shoveling their way. That firehose had gradually diminished over time, but (Facebook’s) January announcement signaled a paradigm shift for how the social media giant viewed its role in the digital ecosystem. Baby pictures were in. Updates on the war in Syria were out.”

Whilst the impact on publishers has been mixed, with some publishers merely seeing slight drops in traffic whilst others have shut down altogether, the latest news coming from Silicon Valley is perhaps more ominous – Facebook is closing down some independent publisher pages completely. You heard right. Pages are being deleted as if they never existed.

The purge, which ramped up considerably in June, appears aimed at alternative news sites that specialise in wellness, nutrition, lifestyle balance, and meditation/spirituality. Here’s a brief selection, which is by no means exhaustive:

  1. Pure Nature (1.7M followers) – Deleted on June 3rd, 2018.
  2. Nature Gallery (654K followers) – Deleted on June 3rd, 2018.
  3. Mesmerizing Nature (912K followers) – Deleted on June 3rd, 2018.
  4. Nature’s Touch (150K followers) – Deleted on June 3rd, 2018.
  5. Healthy Life Box (1.8M followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  6. Healthy Life And Food (350K followers) – Deleted on May 23rd, 2018.
  7. Collectively Conscious (915K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  8. Natural Cures Not Medicine (2.3M followers) – Deleted on June 11th, 2018.
  9. I Want to Be 100% Organic (700K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  10. Viral Alternative News (500K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  11. Organic Health (230K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  12. Natural Cures From Food (120K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  13. Living Traditionally (570K followers) – Unpublished on June 5th, 2018.
  14. Organic Wellness (600K followers) – Unpublished on June 5th, 2018.
  15. Chocolate Socrates (608K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018
  16. Meditation Masters – Deleted in early June, 2018
  17. Global Freedom Movement (27K followers) – Deleted on June 19th, 2018.
  18. Health & Alternative Medicine (550K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  19. Check These Things (80K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  20. Health Care Above All (90K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  21. Health & Alternative Medicine (550K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  22. Healthy Living Motivation (644K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  23. Alternative Health Universe (420K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  24. Natural Medicine Corner (411K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  25. Organic Health Team (490K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  26. Global Health Care (130K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  27. Healthy Alternative Medicine (140K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  28. Natural Healthy Team (190K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  29. Organic Food Medicine (30K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  30. Love, Health and Happiness (10K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  31. Healthy Organic Life (25K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  32. Healthy Lifestyle (55K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  33. Guardian of Health (160K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  34. Daily Health Keeper (190K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  35. Health & Love Page (720K followers) – Deleted on June 5th, 2018.
  36. Diabetes Health Page (180K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  37. The Beauty of Power (170K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  38. Nutrition Facts and Analysys (170K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  39. Deeper Perspectives (32K followers) – Deleted on June 13th, 2018.
  40. My Own Little World (1.5m) – Deleted on June 21, 2018
  41. Brighten Your Soul (100k plus) – Deleted on June 21, 2018
  42. Essence OF Spirit ( 12k) – Deleted on June 21, 2018
  43. We really like animals (544k) – Deleted on June 21, 2018
  44. Nature’s Majesty (191k) – Deleted on June 21, 2018
  45. Nature Magic (33k) – Deleted on June 21, 2018
  46. Floral Photobook (160k) – Deleted on June 21, 2018

When WNIP put in a call to Facebook, nobody was able to shed any light on the matter. Or to put it another way, nobody was willing to shed light on the matter. But something nefarious is afoot. One can argue that Facebook has every right to delete the pages of hateful, divisive and inflammatory content, but it’s difficult to square that approach with a page dedicated to meditation, organic food or wildlife.

As Brendan D. Murphy, Co-Founder of the Global Freedom Movement explains, “In Facebook terms, this may be an extinction level event: independent news outlets are going the way of the dinosaurs and leaving for other platforms….the more tyrannical it gets the more people regard it with contempt and the less likely they are to stay. This is Facebook in self-termination mode.”

What next?

Until Facebook comes clean with what can best be described as a ‘pivot to censorship’, independent publishers might be best advised to avoid the platform altogether.

There are certainly new social platforms and forums springing up where the freedom to create, express and distribute legitimate views are more benign and accepting. This includes MindsOnStellar, Twitter alternative Gab, and Steemit to name just four. And there are others.

If nothing else, Facebook’s recent actions demonstrate even more clearly that when it comes to depending on the site for referall traffic, caveat emptor.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

 

 

 

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

 

 

 

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