My Unintended Consequences Courtesy of the Russian Trolls

Unless you are completely isolated from the news or living under a rock, you likely know that the Russian interference of the 2016 elections is consuming the news cycles. There is new news that the Russians are at it again, this time targeting the mid-term elections. The Russian trolls are disrupting the social media channels and creating unintended consequences for many, including me.

Extreme speech is being banned from the various social media platforms. Alex Jones has been kicked off various social media platforms for his hate speech. Donald Trump and right-wing politicos are complaining that the platforms are censoring them through their algorithms that determine what users see on their feeds.

Small time operators, like myself, are also dealing with the unintended consequences the Russian trolls have created.

I’m far from an extreme right-wing opinionator and it is impossible to accuse me of posting social media content to help Donald Trump. If anything, I can be accused for my anti-Trump rhetoric.

My social media footprint is miniscule but, nonetheless, I’m dealing with the unintended consequences of the Russian trolls.

It started in 2017 when I was forced to abandon my El Paso News blog and convert it into the EPN Blog, causing me advertising revenues. My El Paso News blog was so deeply penetrated by Russian hackers that even Google banned my site from its search results by admonishing users not to go to the site because of the Russian malware.

However, in the last few weeks it’s gotten worse.

First Facebook has now stopped me from advertising on its site because it considers my blog political. As such, in Facebook’s eyes I must be a U.S. citizen to advertise on its platform. Although as a legal resident I can opine about politics, in Facebook’s eyes, I must be U.S. citizen to advertise my political blog on it. Facebook only provides me the option of submitting an American passport – which I do not have – to purchase advertising to promote my blog.

As a consequence, I can not advertise my blog’s content on Facebook anymore.

In the last few days, Youtube took down my Inconvenient Truths videos because it deems them as inappropriate for their platform. They are simple one-to-two-minute videos, each pointed out a fact that is misunderstood in the daily national narrative about immigration or México.

Apparently, my videos are deemed too political or too anti-Trump. I can’t tell you which because although they offer an “appeal” option it does not allow me the opportunity to explain the project and it takes too long for Youtube to review my appeal. I’m still waiting for a response from them, which will likely never get to me.

I’ll share the top-five inconvenient truths to drive Donald Trump crazy with tomorrow. That’s just five from the 50 I’ve put together so far.

Neither Facebook nor Youtube interfere with my projects because as I’ve told my clients over the years it’s a big mistake to build large followers on platforms you do not control. As a result, I treat Facebook, Twitter and Youtube as channels designed to drive traffic back to my platforms that I control.

Alex Jones, like many others, have discovered that depending on platforms like Facebook is detrimental to their business models. Each platform can change and will change their business models to suit their needs regardless of how it hurts those using the platforms for their projects.

My inability to advertise on Facebook – not withstanding the irony of the constant reminders to “boost” my posts from Facebook – will not interfere with my long-range plans. Youtube not allowing my videos is just a nuisance, like Facebook, but also does not interfere with my plans.

However, these are lessons that all who look towards social media to reach audiences would do well to remember.

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