Free Me From Facebook Jail!

“Free Ed Siedle From Facebook Jail! What a bunch of ****!!!!” read the posting on the Protect our Pensions of Iowa/Nebraska Facebook private group discussion.

Members of this group established specifically to protect pensions were reacting angrily to the news that the faceless censors at Facebook had suddenly, without warning, or explanation, decided to block me from communicating with them about the leading cause of pension failures—mismanagement of pension investments. In response, the group had swiftly made me a moderator. Moderator of a group Facebook won’t let me communicate with— how weird is that?

But Facebook’s censorship of this leading pension expert’s views was, and continues to be, far broader than this single group.

Last week I was invited to join the Voters United for Economic and Social Change; Michigan Committee to Protect Pensions; Save Ohio Pensions; Ohio Pension System Members- Retired and Active; Ohio OPERS Group for Retirees; Retired Public Employees of Ohio; Texas Pension Protection Committee; and the Pension Reform Alliance, as well as Protect our Pensions of Iowa/Nebraska private Facebook Groups.

At this moment, Facebook is blocking me from communicating with all of these pension protection groups, as well as the American Federation of Musicians-EPF Discussion group of which I was already a member.

What’s going on here?

In case you haven’t heard, we are in the midst of a global pension crisis. Workers and retirees, keenly aware they may lose their pensions, or have their retirement benefits slashed, are waking up and taking action. Millions of pension participants worldwide have banded together, forming and joining groups on Facebook dedicated to sharing information, learning about and protecting their retirement security.

Unfortunately, the information concerned workers and retirees in these pension protection groups are receiving—many of whom are elderly and handicapped—is being secretly censored by Facebook.

No one is entirely sure why Facebook is censoring the information pension stakeholders receive. Many workers say their unions have told them to remain silent. Exposing pension mismanagement and wrongdoing will only undermine pensions and kill the chance of a government bailout, some say.

I disagree.

As I explain in Who Stole My Pension?, the best way to preserve pensions is to improve transparency, oversight and management of investments. Ignoring fraud, mismanagement and corruption will only guarantee pension failures.

Maybe unions or pension sponsors object to my professional views and have complained to Facebook. On the other hand, maybe Facebook’s algorithms saw me joining too many groups, too quickly and deemed such multiple joinings to be somehow abusive. Who knows?

Last week I appealed Facebook’s unilateral decision to censor me. Since Facebook says my block will end tomorrow, it seems likely that I will, at least temporarily, be able to communicate with pension protection groups I have been invited to join soon—before Facebook has even told me the reasons I was banned from communicating with all groups to begin with.

Since I have no idea why I was blocked—I communicated only expert pension advice to these groups—it seems extremely likely that I will in the very near future, once again, be blocked by Facebook.

Like Alice, this Facebook rabbit hole I have fallen down has led me to a strange new world full of bewildering things.

           

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