FacebookZoo, hosted on niche publishing platform Maven, went live on Tuesday. It aims to give disgruntled publishers an avenue to criticize the company’s censorship policy, as well as outline how its “ever-changing algorithms” have drastically affected their livelihoods in favor of shareholder profit.
The new anti-Facebook blog, giving small and mid-sized publishers a place to vent their frustrations over the tech giant’s censorship policies and algorithms hiding their content, has gone live despite legal threats.
The blog has already survived an attempt by Facebook’s legal team to shut it down. The attempt failed to go anywhere as Maven had the foresight to trademark ‘FacebookZoo’ while it was in beta mode, according to the New York Post.
Facebook’s legal representative known only as ‘Ethel’ wrote to Maven, saying: “Your unauthorized use of the Facebook name is likely to cause confusion as to whether you or your company’s activities are authorized, endorsed, or sponsored by Facebook when, in fact, they are not.”
Ethel also warned Maven that in order to avoid “consumer confusion” and “harm” to Facebook’s brand, it should “stop using the name and domain facebookzoo.com and disable any site available at that address.”
Since going live, FacebookZoo has had a slew of content creators air their grievances, following complaints that Facebook’s new algorithms had slashed their customer base and ad revenues earlier this year.
One cause for concern was artists working hard to build a following on social media platforms without remuneration, and when it was monetized, “Facebook had rules in place,” to control who made money, according to Greg Watkins and Chuck Creekmur of AllHipHop.com.
Asking artists why they were willing to give their content away for free on social media platform, Greg Watkins said the pair regularly told artists: “We actually represent what you’re doing and you’re making all these guys billionaires by giving it to them with the hope that at some point you may be able to reach an audience.”
“The thing is, we’re all slaves at the end of the day, right? To Facebook, to YouTube,” writes Alicé Anil, a political commentator and satirist, who noticed a radical drop in follower engagement after Facebook ‘tweaked’ its algorithms.
“The moment that they decide to change their algorithm, we are f*****… Our business model has been completely jeopardized just because of a single decision that was made,” she added.
Facebook’s censorship policy is another issue tackled by the site. Boyce Watkins, founder of Black Business School, said her page was “killed” by a “Facebook bot” just as it approached a million likes.
Aimed at promoting “economic intelligence and financial literacy amongst Black communities,” Black Business School was earning $250,000 a year from Facebook, however someone quoting Malcolm X in a post saw the page pulled without warning and suspended for two years.
“They’re bullies,” Watkins said. “We could not even get anyone on the phone to find out why we were suspended.”
Facebook claims that its algorithm change, which favored friends and family over media sites, was a way to get back to its roots as a site that connected people.