Politics & Policy

Why Is Facebook Censoring Pro-Second Amendment Pages?

(Lukas Gojda/Dreamstime)
The social-media giant is once again cracking down on conservative views.

Facebook’s tendency toward political censorship accelerated swiftly this past weekend, when many pro-Second Amendment pages were banned without explanation.

“We found out we weren’t alone. Many other pro-gun pages — or pro-law enforcement pages or military pages — were unpublished over the weekend,” Tactical Sh*t owner TJ Kirgin tells National Review. In some cases, he says, even airsoft pages were included in the cull.

Tactical Sh*t is an online community for Second Amendment supporters that has over 30 million viewers per month. The company follows Facebook’s guidelines by limiting its commercial offerings to firearms accessories and extraneous gear. Yet it was banned from the site anyway.

Kirgin believes that Facebook is using an “algorithm” to ban pro-Second Amendment pages. The last time that a Tactical Sh*t post was flagged — about four months ago — he notes that it was removed and his punishment was decided in under 20 minutes. “No human being could have made that decision” so quickly, he says. “The targeting being done is most certainly algorithmic.”

Since that time, the company’s Facebook page had not been flagged again until, without any justification, it was pulled down on Sunday.

“ISIS can have posts saying ‘Death to America,’ but if you post a picture with a gun you get banned,” Kirgin says with frustration. “Your company’s livelihood gets attacked because you post a photo that even looks like a gun.”

RELATED: If a Conservative Speaks — and Facebook Censors Him —  Does He Make a Sound?

For Kirgin, the consequences of the ban were drastic. Instantly, Tactical Sh*t saw a 40 percent decrease in sales, which resulted in a loss of thousands — or maybe even tens of thousands — in revenue. There was also a 40 percent reduction in traffic to the company’s website, which includes a media section on which reporters cover military and law-enforcement news.

“It scared the living daylights out of our staff,” Kirgin says.

After a 36-hour anti-Facebook backlash — “the noise we were able to make with our loyal following,” as Kirgin puts it — the company’s page was re-published. But the damage had already been done.

#related#Kirgin is a former law-enforcement officer and has a staff composed mostly of veterans. As a result, Tactical Sh*t donates a large portion of its revenue to veteran and law-enforcement charities such as Raider Project and Gallant Few. Without Facebook’s social-media platform, Kirgin says, it would be nearly impossible for the company to excel, and thus to donate as much as it does.

Kirgin acknowledges that Facebook is a private company and may do as it wishes. But, he argues, that doesn’t make it right. “Someone,” he says, “needs to come up with a social media that is truly American by nature by allowing freedom of speech.”

— Austin Yack is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute.

Austin Yack — Austin Yack is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute and a University of California, Santa Barbara alumnus.

Most Popular


The End of Hong Kong as We Know It

The protests in Hong Kong have been going on for more than four months now, and no matter how the current crisis concludes in the coming days or weeks, it will mark the end of Hong Kong as we know it. The protests started in response to an extradition bill that was proposed by the city’s Beijing-backed ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Hillary Ruins the Plan

Editor’s note: Andrew C. McCarthy’s new book is Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency. This is the first in a series of excerpts.  There really was a collusion plot. It really did target our election system. It absolutely sought to usurp our capacity for ... Read More

Another Pop-Culture Christian Loses His Faith

It’s happened again. For the second time in three weeks, a prominent (at least in Evangelical circles) Christian has renounced his faith. In July, it was Josh Harris, a pastor and author of the mega-best-selling purity-culture book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. This month, it’s Hillsong United songwriter and ... Read More

An Insider’s Guide to Italian Insults

The tragicomic irony of Chris Cuomo’s pugilistic outburst earlier this week — cursing and physically threatening a man for taunting him with a reference to the movie The Godfather — is that the CNN anchor reinforced the usual tropes about Italian Americans. We are all wise-guys, goons, and Mafiosi, just ... Read More