Last Updated on October 8, 2019
Tuesday, the admin of several popular pro-Trump Facebook pages and small business owner Mark Sidney claimed he lost close to $300,000 to Facebook.
Sidney exposed what he considers Facebook’s “Page Like Ads” fraud in his opinion blog, and he is convinced that others have suffered as he has.
“Once a bastion of free speech and free expression, the company [Facebook] has since seemingly sold out to the totalitarians,” Sidney, the founder of social media website Spreely.com, wrote.
Sidney then lays out his case that after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars with Facebook, he feels defrauded.
“Over the last few years, we have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars paying Facebook for “likes.” Everyone knows the premise of social media used to be, entice people to ‘like’ and thus ‘follow’ your Page, and if your ‘followers’ engage with your content, they will see more of it in their Newsfeeds.”
Sidney continued, “While taking this money Facebook told us that FB was a ‘Platform For All Ideas’ and that each user’s Newsfeed was personal and unique and determined by what each individual chose to engage with.”
Facebook’s original “Core beliefs”:
“You Control Your Experience
Ultimately, you know what’s most meaningful to you — and that’s why we’ve developed controls so you can customize what you see. Features such as “unfollow,” “hide” and “see first” help you design your own experience — and when you use them, we take your actions as feedback to help us better understand what content is most important to you. For example, if you hide a story from someone, that signals that you’re less interested in hearing from that person in the future. As News Feed evolves, we’ll continue building easy-to-use and powerful tools to give you the most personalized experience.”
Facebook has seemingly modified the contract with new controls and restrictions placed on account holders to filter stories from people’s feed and to force people off of the platform, in various methods of control like blocks, or time outs, or strikes for “fake news” and “clickbait”.
“Recently Facebook quietly removed the page called “Newsfeed Values,” despite having linked to it in countless newsroom posts and it being their core principles. It used to be located here: https://newsfeed.fb.com/values/, unfortunately for FB, the wayback machine still has it HERE.” he posted.
“I gave Facebook $270,000 or so to build up a bunch of Pages to distribute my conservative political opinion publishing business because I was told, and up until Trump won the election, Facebook was going to serve content to each user based on what THAT INDIVIDUAL USER had previously engaged with. Well, once they got my money they broke these promises.”
Sidney paid Facebook gain “likes” by people who were looking for his style of content and to, therefore, build up his follower base by purchasing because pages with large numbers of “likes” are seen more.
“The basic premise of social media was to build up followers to reach a larger audience,” Sidney told National File. “The basic model of Facebook, as I understood it, is that the more ‘likes’ you obtain, the larger your distribution network for your content becomes and the more reach you get.”
Sidney continued, “If this were not the case, why would I spend $300,000? I promise you I would not have done so just so I could say my page has 3.2 million likes. I spent the money to appear in the newsfeed of those who like the page.”
He continues to say that Facebook previously operated in such a manner, and included language, that suggested to Sidney that this was how the platform works. Sidney now feels Facebook changed their practices without notice or forewarning that the practices could be changed.
“My understanding was that this would be a meritocracy in perpetuity,” said Sidney.
Sidney cites two events that directly preceded the changes he witnessed in his Facebook business, when former President Barack H. Obama met with Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg in Peru after the 2016 election, and when President Donald J. Trump won the 2016 presidential election.
“6,000,000 customers who run businesses and use FB ads. How many of them do you think have purchased Page Like Ads, ads that we were told would increase our follower count and thus our distribution in Newsfeed?” asked Sidney.
Sidney says he has an impressive list of friends and business contacts who share his experience of possible Facebook fraud with “Page like Ads,” some who had their entire pages removed by Facebook and spent Millions on Facebook Page Like Ads, collectively.
“I have spent the last 16 months building this case, I have all the evidence, I have the proof, I have the declarations of FB employees confirming, even bragging about their business model being to push out competitors who they do not like. I have the case ready to file, all I need is a little help,” Sidney wrote.
Sidney told National File that he is exploring legal options with counsel.