SKWAWKBOX under new attack as Facebook appears to ‘shadowban’

The SKWAWKBOX: shadowbanned by Facebook?

As regular readers will be aware, during July and August the SKWAWKBOX came under a number of technical attacks, with sophisticated methods used to block access to its articles. There were three such attacks within the space of a week – each time after articles exposing smears by the Establishment and the Labour right were published and began to go viral.

One attack lasted over 24 hours.

Now the blog appears to be under a renewed attack with an apparently targeted ‘shadowbanning’ by Facebook – after a broader ‘ban’ caused new articles to be deleted immediately after posting affected a range of left-wing sites.

The broad issue was described by Facebook as a technical ‘glitch’ then said to be resolved. However, the SKWAWKBOX was affected by a far more specific phenomenon that resulted in follower after follower contacting the blog with messages like the one shown below to say that no new posts were reaching their Facebook feeds – even though they had prioritised SKWAWKBOX articles to ‘see first’ status:

fb show firstfb first see

The issue is not affecting other sites, as our friends at some of the other main ‘new left media’ sites confirmed:

Your engagements on Facebook fell off a cliff midway through 18/8 and haven’t been anywhere near the same since. Likes and shares have dropped by over 90%. We haven’t seen anything like that affecting us – someone has directly targeted your page.

fb reach.png
The impact of the apparent ‘shadowban’ from mid-August

The SKWAWKBOX has raised this issue with Facebook, but has not yet received a meaningful explanation, let alone a resolution of the issue.

Fortunately the overall reach of the page has been maintained, as other platforms and the support of readers have taken up the slack. But this means that without the ‘shadowban’, the number of people seeing the blog’s important information would be even higher.

But the reports from the blog’s Facebook followers mean that the platform is failing to carry out their instructions to ‘see first’ all new SKWAWKBOX articles and is depriving them of what they want to see – without telling them or explaining why.

It’s hard to avoid the impression that the blog’s effectiveness in challenging Establishment narratives has it in the crosshairs, so its readers’ support in propagating the information across all platforms is more essential than ever.

One practical step you can take if you’re not already doing it, is to use the follow-by-email option to ensure you’re notified of new posts directly – and then share them on your own social media feeds using the share options within each article.

In the meantime, efforts continue to make the availability of the site more robust and to find new ways to ensure it reaches all the people who need it – and contacts with Facebook are ongoing so the blog can keep upsetting the right.

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  1. The sophisticated nature of these attacks suggests either a government sponsored organisation or an organisation sponsored by another state and I do no mean America or Russia.. I think thee is more probability of that state seeking to influence our elections than either of the other two.

  2. I doubt it is a government attack, it is fairly easy to employ programmers able to take your site down or cause it problems. Something well within the reach of any new media/social media company. Portland communications would be my first port of call as Skwawkbox is directly affecting its clients.

  3. For readers, I would recommend trying to ween yourself and your friends off Facebook for news altogether. It isn’t going to get better on there. They even censored a very dry academic article by Tariq Ali for the New Left Review recently, which is a little ominous. https://leftlinks.org.uk/ has a ton of great (and maybe not-so-great) content. I recommend you share the link with your friends who still use Facebook for news.

  4. Yes the Right Wing Barbarians can’t do with ideas and need to suppress them by foul means, they have lost by fair means.
    This is why the Barbarians will lose.
    When they have to resort to the Dark arts and to procedural moves they dehumanise themselves.
    “The old order (Neo-Liberalism) is dying.
    But the new cannot be born.
    Perhaps we are all being tested.
    And only the stars will ride th storm.”

  5. I suggest we all copy and/or paste all SqBox articles as far and wide as we can. I do !!

  6. This is going to be an increasing problem. We badly need a progressive (corporation proof!) alternative social media. I never did feel comfortable with Facebook!

  7. I am not receiving any ‘notifications from SQWAWKBOX via email’ although I am following you

  8. I admire your persistence in dealing with the constant harassment you have to contend with.

  9. This has happened to me. The first I knew something was going on was after getting 15 posts removed as spam 8 in a row and a couple throughout the day. Literally as I marked each post as ‘Not spam’ I’d get an auto reply saying ‘They’d looked again and my posts didn’t go against their policy’ and they were reinstated – I used to get 100’s of notifications from comments/likes/emoticons whatever a day not counting from posts I’d shared elsewhere. Now I have a handful of people who sometimes emoticon/like something but don’t share Then they said there’d been changes to my account and had me jumping through hoops to get back into my account (Not for the first time recently) So I worked out they’d ghosted my tl – It’s also happening on twitter. After #SocialistSunday I had 150 more followers and until then had crazy amounts of comments/likes and emoticons already had 1,000 followers and they were all very active along with Skwawkbox – People like @Charlotte71 who was always in touch and had loads of posts/rt’s now only getting her stuff when someone rt’s it or in someone else’s comments so can only assume I’m ghosted on here too. If you don’t go to my timeline you’re very unlikely to see my posts –

  10. Facebook is the establishment’s favourite keyhole through which they spy on us. It is also used to control and modify our political opinions. I’ve just come from reading about a Palestinian protest page that was deleted by Facebook.

    The big question is who is paying Google/Facebook to do this?

    I’ve often imagined this scenario – whereby censorship is made to look like technical glitches rather than overt censorship. People need to come off Facebook. Citizens are in denial.

    It’s a shame Diaspora is less known and less user friendly than Facebook.

    1. No need to pay – they share an ideology, a love of easy lucre and a hatred for socialism and the taxes that accompany it.
      The merest hint that Corbyn’s policies and personal qualities keep the Left gaining in popularity is enough to put the fear of poverty in them – which in their world means only being able to afford a brand new superyacht/mansion/tropical island three times a year instead of four.

  11. the question is what can we do about it ? the moment i share anything anti israel i am banned for a week , when I am allowed to share my posts could get up to 6,000 now it gets 75
    i don’t know how they are stopping my post getting out or if they just don’t record the number of people , I don’t know what shadowing means ?

    will we have to start our own face book ?

    1. There’s this new social media been going since 2015

      “The new social platform Minds is hoping to establish its own space in the world of social networks by doing the opposite of what most successful social networks do.

      The hook of Minds is twofold: The first is that the network is open source and encrypted. Because the platform is open source, it is designed so that anyone can add to it and improve it, and use it for both building and sharing things. Theoretically, someone could use the Minds social network to build their own social network. Minds also offers end-to-end encrypted messaging which will be opaque to both advertisers and governments. Theoretically, this means that not even the social network itself knows what is in the messages being sent.

  12. Hello skwawkbox. Just for your info I am still getting your emails with your latest stories. Is this problem a selective one ?

    1. If you’re registered to follow by email, you’ll still get those – the issue is specifically with Facebook followers not being notified

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