Some 800 anti-establishment accounts and pages have been yanked from Facebook in a sweeping crackdown the social media giant framed as a fight against spammers. RT talked to those who were targeted in the cleansing.
Among the hundreds of pages and accounts Facebook and Twitter took down were those both on the political left and right, ranging from conspiracy theorists and police brutality watchers, to news outlets with non-mainstream angles, While their content could be at times described as controversial, the bulk of the banished pages boasted large followings and outreach.
RT spoke to some of the voices silenced by the Facebook move. Here is what they had to say.
Jason Bassler, The Free Thought Project, 3.1mn followers
The Free Thought Project bills itself as a "hub for free thinking conversations." Both its Facebook and Twitter accounts were shut down in the pre-midterms purge. Jason Bassler, who co-founded the project in 2013, told RT that what Facebook did is an act of political censorship and has nothing to do with its stated goal to clean up its platform from spam.
"If that was just spam, if that was just irrelevant garbage they wouldn't be so threatening, they would not ban us, they would not care, we would not have been on their radar."
By spinning the story as a fight against unworthy news trash, Facebook itself is misleading users with its own version of fake news, he said: "This is nothing more than political censorship and trying to eradicate certain political ideologies."
Nicholas Bernabe, founder of The Anti-Media, 2.1mn followers
Nicholas Bernabe, blogger and entrepreneur behind the independent news aggregator The Anti-Media, believes that "the most troubling" thing in Facebook's treatment of media pages is that tech giants are now trying to police cultural dialogue by posing as politically neutral.
"That could actually be perceived as Facebook itself meddling in elections, because we are only a few weeks away from the midterms and they go and target 800 politically-oriented media pages for deletion."
He added that the majority of the banned pages held "very anti-establishment, very anti-authoritarian views," that appealed to those whose take on election is very different from what mainstream media has to offer.
Matt Savoy, The Free Thought Project, 3.1mn followers
It is hard to overestimate the implications for those that were swept up in the purge, Matt Savoy of The Free Thought Project said. Many of the affected websites will be out of business and "thousands of people will be out of work."
"This is like a death blow. Facebook was a source of how we were able to get our links out and drive traffic to the website, and we no longer have it. The few remaining employees that we have, they are going to be gone."