Op-Ed

When Big Tech Becomes Big Brother

Combined Shape

This post was written in partnership with Patriot Depot, a sister company of The Western Journal. By purchasing an “Honorary Publisher of The Western Journal” shirt, you’ll be helping to keep our content accessible to everyone without a paywall.

This shirt could make you an honorary publisher of The Western Journal, a website that in 2016 appeared in Facebook users’ news feeds 11 billion times.

Also in 2016, Donald Trump defeated mainstream media darling Hillary Clinton in a race for the presidency that he was NOT supposed to win.

Coincidence? Facebook doesn’t think so.

Almost immediately after our election night coverage was watched by more than 11 million Facebook users, something … strange started happening. Suddenly, not as many Facebook users were reading our stories.

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OK, dips in traffic happen all the time. Maybe people were finally burnt out in regards to politics after the grueling election cycle? Perhaps we had become satisfied with our progress and weren’t producing as much quality content?

Soon, we discovered that neither of those things was causing our problem. The real reason we were losing readership was something much more sinister: Facebook was censoring us. We estimate that the 11 billion times our stories appeared in people’s news feed in 2016 will shrink to under 100 million in 2020.

Facebook started artificially decreasing the amount of conservative news that its users could read, and we have proof.

Why is this a problem, you ask? After all, isn’t Facebook a private company that can regulate its service as it sees fit? Well, no, and here are the two reasons:

1) Facebook took millions of our advertising dollars that we spent trying to reach our audience on its platform. It hates our content but loves our money. While Facebook was taking the money that we were using to increase our follower count, it was telling us that the more followers we have, the further our stories will be spread.

It turns out, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Western Journal publishes its content over a network of Facebook pages that total around 40 million fans, but the bulk of our traffic has always been from our two biggest pages: The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune, coming in at 5.2 million and 4.2 million followers, respectively.

But now that Facebook has collected the money we spent to build that audience, it isn’t actually showing our content to those people — or hardly any people, for that matter. In fact, Facebook on average has been showing our stories to fewer than 1 percent of the people who have clicked “like” on our page.

And that was before June 3, 2019, the date on which Facebook embarked on a journey to again reduce the number of fans who would see our stories in their newsfeeds to a ridiculous 0.1 percent of followers.

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Don’t believe me? Have a look for yourself:

2) Facebook has become a public forum, the very type of public forum our Founding Fathers were determined to include when they promised Americans the right to “the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

Facebook is no longer just a place to share photos and keep in touch with long-distance friends and family members. It has become a public forum, a place for ideas to spread, a replacement for town hall meetings or gatherings in the public square. By decreasing the number of people who see our stories, even though these people are telling Facebook they WANT to see our content, Facebook is stifling the discourse of opinions they don’t agree with, even if their users do.

While Facebook doesn’t care about this, we do. Which is why we’re fighting back — but we need your help.

Even though Facebook has reduced our reach by 90 percent, we don’t want to launch a paywall. Instead, you can help us by buying this shirt at the equivalent of a single dime per day. One hundred percent of the profits will go toward keeping The Western Journal alive to speak for the people of America’s Heartland, the people who make up the backbone of this country.

In return, we’ll send you this awesome shirt that identifies you as an honorary publisher of The Western Journal.

The most important election of our lives is coming up, and the Western Journal is going to fight, kick, scratch and claw to keep our doors open no matter how badly Facebook wants to put us out of business.

Real Americans need news that isn’t anti-Trump, anti-Christian and anti-conservative. The Western Journal is going to give it to them.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Ryan Tofil lived all of his life in Western New York before graduating college and moving to Arizona in 2014 to work for the nonprofit Western Center for Journalism. In 2015, he became the director of Liftable.com, and soon its sister website ThoughtfulWomen.org. Since 2018, Ryan has been involved with PatriotDepot.com, the exclusive provider of The Western Journal merchandise and other essential patriotic products, moving to the site full-time in early 2019.
Ryan Tofil's experience on The Western Journal goes back to 2014 when he was an intern for the non-profit Western Center for Journalism. In 2015, he became the director of Liftable.com, and soon its sister website ThoughtfulWomen.org. These websites eventually combined and became one of the most popular lifestyle websites in the world, at one point being ranked inside the top 200 websites in America by Alexa.com. Liftable.com lives on today as a section of The Western Journal. Since 2018, Ryan has been involved with PatriotDepot.com, the exclusive provider of The Western Journal merchandise and other essential patriotic products, moving to the site full-time in early 2019.

Outside of work, Ryan loves to play chess, sports, and video games; usually while smoking a cigar. He is a proud bird-owner and aquarium aficionado, and always jokes about needing concealed carry permits for his fists, despite only having been in one fight in his life and losing quite badly. His claim to fame is having possibly been the worst NCAA baseball player in the country, riding the bench for a DIII team that went 3-31. He loved every second of it.
Birthplace
Western New York
Education
A.S., Communication, Jamestown Community College
Location
Anthem, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, barely. Even worse at Spanish.
Topics of Expertise
Video Games, Sports, Romance, Chess, E-Commerce, Okay not Romance




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