Facebook Removes I Fucking Love Atheists In Latest Political Purge

Admins of the Facebook page “I Fucking Love Atheists” — with a following of 690,000 — were apparently one of the pages deleted during the companies most recent political purge.

On Sunday night Facebook received a tip from law enforcement about pages believed to have links to “foreign entities.” A statement released by Facebook’s Head of Cybersecurity Policy Nathaniel Gleicher, claims that 30 Facebook pages and 85 Instagram accounts were removed on Monday night.

As part of our efforts to prevent interference on Facebook during elections, we are in regular contact with law enforcement, outside experts and other companies around the world. These partnerships, and our own investigations, have helped us find and remove bad actors from Facebook on many occasions in the last year — most recently 82 Pages, Groups and accounts linked to Iran on October 26.

On Sunday evening, US law enforcement contacted us about online activity that they recently discovered and which they believe may be linked to foreign entities.

Our very early-stage investigation has so far identified around 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts that may be engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior. We immediately blocked these accounts and are now investigating them in more detail. Almost all the Facebook Pages associated with these accounts appear to be in the French or Russian languages, while the Instagram accounts seem to have mostly been in English — some were focused on celebrities, others political debate.

Typically, we would be further along with our analysis before announcing anything publicly. But given that we are only one day away from important elections in the US, we wanted to let people know about the action we’ve taken and the facts as we know them today.

Once we know more — including whether these accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities — we will update this post.

A joint statement released Monday from DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that Americans should be aware of “foreign actors,” naming Russia in specific.

The statement claims there are no signs that America’s voter infrastructure has been breached. It is claimed that foreign influence is attempting to spread false information about political processes or candidates.

Our agencies have been working in unprecedented ways to combat influence efforts and to support state and local officials in securing our elections, including efforts to harden election infrastructure against interference. Our goal is clear: ensure every vote is counted and counted correctly. At this time we have no indication of compromise of our nation’s election infrastructure that would prevent voting, change vote counts, or disrupt the ability to tally votes.

But Americans should be aware that foreign actors—and Russia in particular—continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions intended to sow discord. They can do this by spreading false information about political processes and candidates, lying about their own interference activities, disseminating propaganda on social media, and through other tactics. The American public can mitigate these efforts by remaining informed, reporting suspicious activity, and being vigilant consumers of information, as discussed below.

The United States will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections from Russia, China, Iran, or other nations. As noted in a joint statement on October 19, 2018, such actions are a threat to our democracy, and identifying and preventing this interference is one of our highest priorities. On September 12, President Trump signed an executive order that makes clear the U.S. government will not hesitate to defend our electoral processes or punish those who attempt to undermine them.

Our agencies have been making preparations for nearly two years in advance of these elections and are closely engaged with officials on the ground to help them ensure the voting process is secure. Americans can rest assured that we will continue to stay focused on this mission long after polls have closed.

To learn more about efforts to protect America’s elections please visit: https://www.dhs.gov/topic/election-security.

Voters can take a few simple steps to help secure our elections, including:

Get election information straight from the source—your state or local election office. Call them or check their website. They will have accurate information you can trust on the status of your voter registration, polling hours and location, identification requirements, and election results.
Be smart when consuming or sharing election-related information: Know your source—and think before you link. Compare reporting from multiple sources to determine reliable information. Before sharing, ask yourself, “Who wrote it? Who posted it? What are their sources?”

Ever since removing Alex Jones from Facebook, we have witnessed an onslaught of pages be removed from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Facebook removals seem to be the most unpredictable as pages with content ranging from independent media to natural healing have been deleted.

The admins of the I Fucking Love Atheists page say they received no warning, or reason for having their page removed. According to a petition on Change.org, the page had been on Facebook for six years. The petition currently has over 2,700 signatures out of their 5,000 signature goal.

We Fucking Love Atheism ( https://www.facebook.com/WFLAtheism/ ) is a large atheist community page with over 690,000 followers. The page represents more than 6 years of daily hard work, tears, sacrifice, and energy, countless hours spent creating and sourcing content, news, and more for our following.

On November 4th, Facebook unpublished our page, giving us no reason why except for a generic message stating that we had violated their community standards. No specific infraction was given. We have appealed the decision, but have not been given a response at the time of writing this.

We are completely heartbroken. There are all sorts of pages on Facebook that promote horrific, hateful ideas, from Nazis to incels, paedos and everything in between. We’ve reported so many over the years, as we are sure you have too, only to have Facebook tell us that their hate speech is not a violation of their “Policies”.

All we ever wanted was to help people. Being an Atheist is very hard in many places, in some places it can even get you killed. Everything we have done has centered around letting people know, that it’s okay. It’s okay to laugh at the absurd. Okay to question the doctrines. Okay to *not* believe. To let them know they are not alone. We have NEVER promoted violence toward religious people. We have NEVER promoted hatred or intolerance. I can point you to a half dozen fundamentalist Christian and Muslim pages on Facebook right now that openly call for violence against Atheists and people who do not believe in the same god. Their “freedom” of hate speech is protected by Facebook, and we have been silenced.

For six years we’ve had the privilege of watching countless friendships, relationships, and even a few marriages and some gorgeous babies come about because of what we built. We think back to the thousands of messages we’ve received over the years, thanking us, and our hearts break even more. We help people break the mental shackles of indoctrination. We raise awareness. We’ve even raised a good bit of money for the homeless, and thousands of dollars in donations for Doctors Without Borders. Our content may not have always been to everyone’s taste but it was always meant to challenge perceptions, challenge the doctrines, and yes, mock them too, because NO IDEA SHOULD EVER BE IMMUNE TO CRITICISM OR MOCKERY.

Please sign our petition to have our page republished to Facebook. This kind of cherry-picked censorship is not ok.

‘“You’ve gotta respect everyone’s beliefs.” No, you don’t. That’s what gets us in trouble. Look, you have to acknowledge everyone’s beliefs, and then you have to reserve the right to go: “That is fucking stupid. Are you kidding me?”‘ – Patton Oswalt

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About Meko Haze

Meko Haze is an independent journalist by day... and an independent journalist by night.

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