Nearly eleven years ago, back in April 2005, I opened my work e-mail (I was working at a different university back then) and saw an e-mail from someone whose name I had seen before, one Mr. William P. O’Neill. Opening the e-mail, I was shocked to find an e-mail to Orac; worse, the e-mail was cc’ed to my cancer center director, my division chief, and my chairman. In it, O’Neill outed me as Orac and was threatening to sue me over a post I did. Naturally, it was interspersed with accusations of my being a “pharma shill” and having lied about him. Now here’s the odd thing. This is the post that provoked Mr. O’Neill’s ire. All I did was point to Peter Bowditch’s website, specifically his 2004 Millenium Awards. Basically, he was pissed at me for approvingly citing his nemesis, who had taken great pleasure calling O’Neill the Gutless Anonymous Liar.

Thus ended my anonymity, a mere five months after my first blog post. Such is life as a blogger. Nowadays my pseudonym is more a nom de blog than any sort of protection against “outing,” as everyone knows who I am and anyone who doesn’t and can’t find out I consider too clueless to be worth dealing with. Since then, I’ve had more cranks take a run at me, either through “outing” me online or harassing me at work, than I care to remember. The most agita-inducing example occurred in 2010, when Jake Crosby accused me of an undisclosed conflict of interest with a pharmaceutical company, resulting in the antivaccine drones at Age of Autism sending complaints about this to my dean and the board of governors. Fortunately, nothing came of it, but I’ll never forget it.

I tell this story, which I’ve told several times before over the years, not so much because it’s so fascinating, but rather because it illustrates a fact of life that anyone who publicly criticizes cranks must realize. Not having evidence or science on their side, cranks, especially antivaccine cranks, attack the person. In particular, they go after what they perceive as their online critics’ weakest point: Their employers. I was reminded of this in a post on Skeptical Raptor by Dorit Rubinstein about a campaign of online harassment against Alison Hagood on Facebook. It includes all the same ugly, sorry tactics, including these actions:

  1. Started an online petition to Ms. Hagood’s employer requesting disciplinary action or termination.
  2. Repeatedly reported Allison to her school for her online activities, trying to get her fired.
  3. Posted her private address online.
  4. Emailed people she knows.
  5. Created a web site, the purpose of which is solely to harass Ms. Hagood.
  6. Repeatedly sent her insulting or threatening messages.

As I said, the same old tactics. Meanwhile, elsewhere, pro-vaccine advocates are subject to attacks on Twitter, in blogs, and on other social media. However, there is one new tactic that is more recent. Specifically, it’s about Facebook; specifically it’s about how antivaccinationists abuse Facebook’s reporting algorithms. I’ve written about this once before, when members of the Stop the Australian Vaccination Network were targeted by what was then called the Australian Vaccination Network for complaints against them on Facebook. Facebook, through its automated reporting algorithms, would then issue 12-hour, 24-hour, or even longer bans against pro-vaccine advocates.

Well, they’re at it again. Not the AVN this time, but another group of antivaccinationists, and they’re targeting Allison Hagood and others:

Last month, Facebook banned Ms. Hagood for 30 days, for posting an image that “violates community standards”. The image, with a caption Allison added, is shown below. This was her third ban in a row.

The original image, shared widely on Facebook by those who revile Ms. Hagood (shown above), is a photograph of Ms. Hagood’s green-tinted face photoshopped into a still of the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz. The original caption reads, “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!”…

For posting this image, Ms. Hagood was banned from Facebook for 30 days. It is likely, although impossible to prove, that the image was reported by the anti-vaccine activist who created the original image.

Dorit Reiss documents a Facebook conversation gloating about it on the Skeptical Raptor blog:

Anti-vaccine activist #1: Actually A hag’s (sic – the anti’s nickname for Allison) main account is about to come off a 30 day suspension, and I have just the comment to report that will extend it another 30 day
Anti-vaccine activist #2: [image of laughing squirrel with HAHAHA]
Anti-vaccine activist #3: Dahahahaa
Anti-vaccine activist #4: Go for it!
Anti-vaccine activist #5: Go for it!

A year later, they’re still at it. In fact, Allison’s been banned multiple times, including recently. Mostly it’s been Allison Hagood and Stacy Mintzer Herlihy, who co-authored a recent pro-vaccine book, Your Baby’s Best Shot: Why Vaccines Are Safe and Save Lives and seem to come in for particularly opprobrium from the antivaccine fringe. However, earlier this week, the man responsible for the Skeptical Raptor website fell into the sights of antivaxers. It’s useful to consider just how far they went to do this, too, and the way to do that is to look at a Facebook post one of my readers forwarded to me from an antivaccine group known as The Vaccine Resistance Movement (VRM). It’s a Facebook cesspit of the most radical, batshit radical antivaccinationists you’ll find. This is the post I was pointed to in that Facebook group (click to embiggen):

Yes, this is the sort of tactics that antivaccine loons use to harass and silence pro-science advocates on Facebook.

Yes, this is the sort of tactics that antivaccine loons use to harass and silence pro-science advocates on Facebook.

That last bit sounded very much like a threat.

So, yes, from this it appears that the above woman is behind at least one of these bogus complaints to Facebook. There are actually many more antivaccinationists harassing pro-science advocates on Facebook, but this is the one I saw in a public forum, thanks to one of my readers; so this is the one I’m naming and shaming.

Perhaps you are wondering what the “racial slur” that Skeptical Raptor allegedly made. Here’s what I meant when I was referring to just how far someone like Heather would go to find something to complain to Facebook about. What she found demonstrates not just her mendacity but Facebook’s cluelessness. I’m Facebook friends with Skeptical Raptor; so I know the story. While it’s a little more complicated than this, one thing that contributed to Raptor’s ban is a post of his from three years ago in which he referred to someone as “niggardly.” As anyone with any education knows, this word is not the N-word that is among the worst, if not the worst, of racial slurs, nor is it related to the N-word. Rather, it means, basically, stingy or cheap and has nothing to do with race or slurs. It turns out the Raptor used the word in a post in which he mocked someone who thought “niggardly” was a racist comment. Heather, clueless as she is, thought this word was related to the N-word. Even more cluelessly, Facebook accepted that explanation. Whether it happened at the level of its automatic algorithm or whether a real human approved the block, who knows? Facebook’s banning algorithms are the ultimate black box. They might as well be in the center of a black hole, given how impenetrable they are and how difficult it is to shine any light on them.

Because of idiocy like this, I don’t use the word “niggardly” anymore exactly because people these days are so clueless that they mistake the word for a racial slur. It’s a shame and I know it’s truly dumb, but unfortunately language has evolved and the stigma against the N-word is so strong that people hear something that sounds vaguely like it, and their brains shut down. There really is little point in fighting it any more. That battle was lost, and using that word risks getting bogged down explaining that it has nothing to do with the N-word and distracting from my message. Besides, my intentionally using the word as a protest isn’t going to change the way things are, and the way things are is that clueless wonders like this antivaccine warrior think the word is “hate speech,” and Facebook even more cluelessly agrees.

So let’s recap what we have here. We have a group of rabid antivaccine activists intentionally going through Facebook with a fine tooth comb to locate anything that they think they can report to Facebook that might get a temporary ban, and then they report it. It doesn’t matter how tenuous that “dirt” is. We have service (Facebook) with a system for dealing with hate speech and online harassment that is easily gamed to harass people, an observation that is ironic in the extreme, so much so that it would be amusing if it weren’t so destructive. Facebook’s reporting algorithm is now a tool of harassment, such that it can be used again and again to keep pro-science advocates banned and continually on their guard. Finally, Facebook’s double standard is so incredible that many complaints about things that should be complained about and should result in a ban result in no action. I personally have complained about harassing posts about myself and others, and each and every time I’ve received a notice that the post “does not violate Facebook community standards.” I’ve heard similar stories from several others.

Indeed, take a look at the comments after Dorit Reiss’ post. You’ll see that Allison Hagood has gotten another 30 day ban over, well, let her tell you:

I have just received my fourth 30-day ban for a post that in no way violates any community standards of any kind. The text:

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

That is fucking priceless. I am in love with Frau Heather’s irony right now.”

Referring to someone by their first name is not harassment, not bullying, not a personal attack. Laughing at someone’s idiocy is not harassment, not bullying, not a personal attack.

Also, Allison’s posting of a link to Dorit Reiss’ article on harassment on Facebook was also reported as “hate speech.” Meanwhile, in the comments after her post, Heather is posting screenshots of Facebook confirming that the targets of her complaints had received temporary bans and gloating heartily. Obviously, my opinion of her is incredibly low. She is cowardly, vindictive, and, let’s be frank, a complete and total asshole. She is also welcome to comment here to defend herself if she wishes. Her first comment will go to moderation, but I’ll approve it, and after that she will be able to comment freely. Somehow, I doubt she’ll take me up on my offer, because she can’t function anywhere where she isn’t preaching to a friendly, approving crowd cheering her on for her dishonest use of the Facebook reporting system.

So, in the end, once again antivaccinationists have no science, only pseudoscience. They have no good evidence, only cherry picked data twisted into an unrecognizable pretzel in the service of supporting their pseudoscience. So they attack the person, facilitated by Facebook’s reporting algorithm. It’s truly despicable behavior and not at all disappointing for antivaccinationists. After all, it’s what they do; we don’t expect anything more honorable from them, and meanwhile, those who’ve aligned themselves with the antivaccine movement who try to portray themselves as nice and honorable guys (I’m talking to you, Dr. Jay Gordon) stay silent. What is disappointing is that one of the richest companies in the world, a company that revolutionized social media, is apparently incapable of preventing itself from being played for a sucker by antivaccine activists turning its tools intended to prevent and stop harassment into tools to harass.

Either that, or the people running Facebook just don’t care. After all, it’s not just antivaccine cranks who can game the system. In response to complaints, Facebook routinely deletes peaceful, anti-racist posts by activists, doling out 24-hour and 30-day bans the way it has to Stacy and Allison, while deciding after similar complaints against them that bigoted posts calling for preparing for violence against Muslims don’t violate Facebook’s community standards.

Truly, Facebook is broken, and its system designed to police community standards seems to indicate that community standards favor pseudoscience, bullying, racism, and harassment.

ADDENDUM: A little birdie told me that the administrators of VRM took down Heather’s post and sent me this (click to embiggen):

Heather's post removed

Comments

  1. #1 Helianthus
    March 13, 2016

    OT, but for any lurker wondering about it;

    Which makes me wonder if Adolf was such a bad person why he didn’t fight on the Russian front using gas, clearly with the western winds at his back he could have annihilated them and won the war.

    By her logic, because people succeed at killing themselves in their garage with their car’s fumes*, everybody downwind of any trafic-heavy megalopolis should just drop dead.

    Accounts of the WW1 showed that the use of lethal gas in an open field was less than efficient, especially if the winds don’t cooperate and send the gases back to your lines. That didn’t stop both French and German armies to try repeatedly, and maim plenty of people in the process, notably with mustard gas. But it may have made the German high command leery of using combat gases on the scale of Siberia.
    It works better if there is something to contain the gases and the targeted people, like trenches. Or a closed room.

    Since WW2, highly neurotoxic gases have been developed, so the dispersing effect of winds is less of a factor on ground zero.

    * speaking of this, killing by filling a room of people with carbon monoxide, either bottled in advance or generated on-site by a diesel truck’s exhaust, was also a method used by the nazi regime, at least in one death camp and also in their forced euthanasia campaign in hospitals.

  2. #2 Julian Frost
    South Africa
    March 13, 2016

    While we’re on the subject of vaccines, are there any vaccine-DNA-insight tests available?

    Pathway Genomics has Medication-DNA-Insight which indicates which medications are optimal for a person based on their genetics.

    Looks like you’ve given Orac a topic to blog about, Michael.

  3. #4 Orac
    March 13, 2016

    * speaking of this, killing by filling a room of people with carbon monoxide, either bottled in advance or generated on-site by a diesel truck’s exhaust, was also a method used by the nazi regime, at least in one death camp and also in their forced euthanasia campaign in hospitals.

    Actually, carbon monoxide from truck or tank engine exhaust was the more common method of killing used by the Nazis early on.after the Holocaust turned exterminationist.Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka used CO gas in gas chambers, while Chelmno used mobile gas vans. e Stutthof, Mauthausen, Sachsenhausen, and Ravensbrueck, although not designed as death camps, all also maintained small gas chambers used to eliminate prisoners deemed “unfit” to work” that used Zykon B.

  4. #5 Stacy Herlihy
    United States
    March 13, 2016

    I meant editing post 191 which brings attention to her ugly little site attempting to defame many of us. I hate to think that I’m helping to bring any traffic to her. She’s just managed to unnerve me. Chasing after me is one thing but going after my husband is so . . . evil. What’s next? Will she start cyber-bullying my thirteen year old daughter?

  5. #6 Cat
    Montreal
    March 13, 2016

    I’ve seen this kind of thing elsewhere too. A Facebook page called MUH men’s rights activism, which pokes fun at MRAs was shut down because the screenshots it had of vile threats by MRAs were reported by MRAs as hate speech.

  6. #7 Beryl
    March 13, 2016

    Anyone wanting to try searching for specific word strings might want to try Google’s advanced search. Just add /advanced_search to the end of http://www.google.com. The page also has a link to the search settings page, which lets you mitigate the filter-bubble effect by editing or turning off your search history. (You can also change your location, which is useful if you’re looking for a business in a different geographical area.) Google has a lot of interesting hidden bits.

  7. #8 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    March 13, 2016

    In other antivaccine crank news, Jake breaks almost 6 months of radio silence to inform the world that Dr. Ben Carson has endorsed The Donald for president.

  8. #9 Dangerous Bacon
    March 13, 2016

    It’s amusing to see former Republican candidates submerging what remains of their ethics and endorsing Trump, in hopes of receiving handouts from a Trump administration.

    Ben Carson probably has dreams of being Surgeon General, although being a former surgeon doesn’t remotely qualify him for the job.

  9. #10 Mitzi Dupree
    March 13, 2016

    Re: search tools

    There are times when one doesn’t want to see the top links in the search results — links to buy stuff, links to Yahoo! Answers, links for *transformer* that turn up cars that turn into robots.

    https://millionshort.com/

    enjoy.

  10. #11 squirrelelite
    Land of Enchantment and lots of chile
    March 13, 2016

    @Dangerous Bacon,

    It’s especially ironic since not so long ago there was open talk of Trump running as an independent if the Republicans didn’t pick him.

    Ohio governor Kasich seems to be the holdout from that bandwagon.

  11. #12 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 13, 2016

    All presidential candidates have promised party leadership they will support the eventual party candidate. In party politics solidarity with the party is important, at least on big things like this.

  12. #13 Mitzi Dupree
    March 13, 2016

    The page also has a link to the search settings page, which lets you mitigate the filter-bubble effect by editing or turning off your search history.

    Ahh. But then one must be slapped with Google cookies, scripts, and…errm .. features, Beryl #207.

    Those ‘features’ are making people stupid, or at least making them appear to be stupid when someone stops typing every other character to stare at autosuggest or flittering Google Instant. Also, the autosuggest ‘feature’ is censorship; I can’t recall a specific example but there were times when typing a naughty word like pirate b.. is all it took to make the suggestion box go blank.

    Re: Blocking Google Instant
    Postby Disgruntled » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:42 pm

    I’ve now blocked Google in all its forms from every computer in my home. I’m tired of being bombarded with the negative CRAP that shows up in their stupid suggestions/google instant. It’s awful and just by performing a simple search I’m bombarded with the lowest, negative, and most ignorant crap people search for. I don’t want it flashing before my eyes just because I’m performing a simple search.

    I’ve read hundreds (literally) of suggestions, complaint, and so on on how to disable Google’s invasive features. It’s clear that Google doesn’t give a flying fluck what their users want, think, or wish. Features are forced on to users like it or not, and complaints go unacknowledged.

    I’m tired of this. I’ve blocked them from every computer in my home and voila – no more “suggestions”. My computer and home are peaceful again.

    Fluck you Google.

    https://adblockplus.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7643#p60642

  13. #14 Gilbert
    do fat raindrops carry Zika?
    March 13, 2016

    Yes, using quotation marks helps, but doesn’t guarantee the outcome.

    Well I’ve learned something new today, Gray Squirrel #194.

    if you want to get really specific you can specify the proximity of your search terms with the undocumented AROUND operator.

    http://lifehacker.com/5707961/use-the-around-operator-in-google-searches-for-more-specific-results
    and also

    If you search for the same thing often (e.g. yourself, maybe?), you can turn that search into an RSS feed and get notified of new results. This will prevent you from combing through results to find new additions

    http://lifehacker.com/5739284/the-best-ways-to-tweak-your-search-when-google-doesnt-give-you-what-you-want

    Now you can stalk your mark and know pretty quick when they post some arrangement of those “idiosyncratic spellings” all you want.

  14. #15 Liz Ditz
    Great State of California
    March 13, 2016
  15. #16 Gray Squirrel
    March 14, 2016

    Mitzi Dupree @ 213: I’ve also blocked Google on my network, for all the usual security reasons, and that I do not like feeding my life to their AIs.

    Speaking of Google’s AIs and the whole subculture that stuff is connected with, here’s some world-class quackery for you, preying on the hope / faith / wishes of a young brain cancer patient:

    http://thebaffler.com/salvos/everybody-freeze-pein

    “[Kim] Suozzi, an agnostic libertarian and aspiring neuroscientist [she was 20-something at the time she was diagnosed with brain cancer], began taking cryonics seriously after discovering the work of the futurologist Ray Kurzweil [chief of engineering at Google] through a cognitive science class at Truman State University in Missouri. After surgery failed to stop the growth of her brain tumor, Suozzi determined that upon death she—or rather, her head—would be frozen and stored for decades [at Alcor], centuries, or millennia in the hope that one day, diligent, wonder-working doctors would transplant her consciousness into a new, healthy body, or perhaps onto a high-capacity hard drive….”

    [Items in brackets added from other parts of the story. Item re. Kurzweil is widely known and easily checked.]

    The whole Alcor / immortality thing deserves some serious insolence. Especially since it’s become popular among the Silly Con Valley crowd.

  16. #17 capnkrunch
    March 14, 2016

    I read Liz Ditz’s article and it got me wondering, has anyone gotten law enforcement involved? The harassment Melissa described strikes me as something that requires escalation far beyond Facebook complaints.

  17. #18 Mitzi Dupree
    March 14, 2016

    she—or rather, her head—would be frozen and stored for decades…

    Ahh Gray Squirrel #216, I’ve seen that one — Cold Lazarus.

    Dr. Emma Porlock and her colleagues, attempting to unlock the secrets of human memory for the Masdon drug empire, get a cryogenically stored 400-year-old human head to project its memories through virtual reality displays. But Porlock and her team are chronically under-funded, and she may have to go around Masdon to a media sleaze merchant to get the money she needs to maintain the project. But an even more complex world of secret police, RON (Reality-Or-Nothing) riots, and murder is going on outside the lab. And the deeper Porlock goes into the frozen memories of the writer Daniel Feeld, the more twisted the labyrinth of intrigue becomes.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115140/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ov_pl

    It was written by Dennis Potter as he was aware that he was dying of pancreatic cancer. It’s got a great cast and it’s a great story though there is a whiff of BBC set *cheezyness* interspersed throughout.

    This dystopic is the ultimate in voyerism, reading the head. There is one particulary harrowing scene of his conciousness being dragged back from the end of the Tunnel of Light upon dropping into the cryogenic drink — Somehow, this opening seems to set the tone of the cost and degree of such heady exploitation.

    “I am on the wrong diet; I am being made to eat and drink my own thoughts… Nooooooo!”

  18. #19 Liz Ditz
    Great State of California
    March 14, 2016

    Oh look, Facebook is targeting an Australian Aboriginal woman for offending … something. Not vaccine-related but it is depressingly familiar.

    I gave a speech in good faith on International Women’s Day, a day Facebook saw fit to acknowledge with a tacky little welcome image. My only crime has been to share that keynote when it has become available. Through their actions, they have additionally, as well as demeaned culture and women, demeaned my words and turned them into something they are not. My words, while an empowering rallying cry, were never meant to be used in this way. I resent the fact that Facebook, through their lack of cultural knowledge and respect for women, have turned them into this. They fail to provide a safe place for Aboriginal people and for women. Indeed, through the selective applying of their “community standards”, they continually allow it to be an unsafe space.

    http://blackfeministranter.blogspot.com/2016/03/statement-regarding-facebook-banning.html?spref=tw

  19. #20 Elizabeth Barnett
    Australia
    March 15, 2016

    Re Denice Walter @ #109

    Australia, like the USA, is a federation. Victoria is one of our States. There are Health Ministers in each State Government as well as the Government of Australia. (By way of example, you would probably not refer to “the Governor of America (sic Florida)”. )
    Jill Hennessey is an elected member of the current Victorian Government, so good luck to a bunch of American nutjobs trying to target her out of office. I can’t speak for Facebook, but the Australian legal system holds freedom of speech as a relative right, not an absolute one, in which robust defamation laws do a reasonable job of managing irresponsible and untruthful utterances. And, yes, Ms Hennessey supports vaccination with the full weight of Government behind her: http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/update-vaccinations-before-heading-back-to-kinder/ . There has been a recent chickenpox outbreak at a particular school which seems to be linked to a local anti-vax cluster, happily the medical authorities are trying to encourage vaccinations. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/eighty-children-get-chickenpox-at-brunswick-north-west-primary-a-school-that-calls-for-tolerance-of-vaccine-dodgers-20151209-gljzkx.html

  20. #21 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    March 19, 2016

    To continue my post #208

    Jake has another new post, announcing that “Autism Investigated” has endorsed Donald J. Trump for President of the United States.

    No doubt that if this was reported by the liberal media, all other autism advocacy organizations would follow AI’s bold leadership, and the election would be all but over. /sarcasm

  21. #22 Denice Walter
    March 19, 2016

    @ Johnny:

    Oh that’s rich.
    I expect that he’ll somehow try to get his name associated with that idiot: it seems Jake likes to ride someone’s coattails – Andy, Olmsted et al, Hooker, whomever- so why not DT?

    Lots of money** and lots of crazy.

    ** a LOMBARD if I ever saw one! ( and that’s not a person domiciled in Lombardy, Italy -btw-)

  22. #23 Cam the Cat
    Clearwater, Florida
    March 23, 2016

    This is my first post on this site. Sorry for being such a late-arrival. Have been an avid fan & reader of this pro-science blog for at least the past year. Finally felt I needed to make a comment as this topic is relevant to my own experience.

    I used to be on Facebook myself under a pseudonym, actually my cat’s name, as I had set him up a Facebook page to just show how awesome he is. Essentially, I was living vicariously through my cat on Facebook, because as a professional & a physician, I didn’t want my real name searchable & my personal business thereby plastered all over the social media site.

    And apparently, Facebook really doesn’t like that. One of their policies is that people are supposed to use their real names when creating a Facebook profile, they say, so as to prevent “trolls” from the shameless harassing of others without any consequences or recourse. Of course, the real reason for the policy is to ensure that every advertising dollar can be assuredly marketed to a genuinely real person. But even that terribly self-righteous Facebook creator deep down knows this is complete bull & a disingenuous explanation.

    Anyway, I was browsing a favorite Facebook page of mine at the time, “Refutations of Anti-Vaccine Memes”, when I learned that the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) was making ludicrous unfounded statements again.

    And thus, I fought back by commenting on the NVIC’s Facebook page, refuting their misguided interpretations with sound evidence & a logic-based rebuttal. I also called the NVIC out for being a truly anti-vaccine organization rather than an organization centered around promoting accurate vaccine information, as they like to spin it & portray themselves.

    Lo & behold, my cat’s Facebook account was suspended by the next day, no questions asked, due to complaints received for using what Facebook considered a fake profile name. In order to restore my account, they were demanding that I send them a photocopy of my driver’s license ID as well as another legal form of identification to prove who I am & that a real person was behind the account. What?!!? I don’t even need to give that detailed of personal information to the government when asked usually. And it would be a cold day in hell before I ever appeased the Facebook overlords with that kind of information, which in all honesty, they have absolutely no business in even asking.

    I have never returned to Facebook since, & I will also never support Facebook ever again as a result of their misguided policies & complaint reporting procedures. And they will never be able to market to me again. I now loathe the company & everything it stands for, as it allowed immature disingenuous anti-vaccine loons to censor me without question. Shameful.

  23. #24 JP
    March 23, 2016

    I use a pseudonym on Facebook and thus far have had no problems with it. I do have a contact at HQ, though.

  24. #25 JP
    March 23, 2016

    Like the above commenter mentioned, it’s not uncommon for professionals and those in academia to use a pseudonym on Facebook for privacy reasons. I use mine in part to keep the pro-homophobia Russians off my trail. (Long story.)

  25. #26 Narad
    March 23, 2016

    Lo & behold, my cat’s Facebook account was suspended by the next day, no questions asked, due to complaints received for using what Facebook considered a fake profile name. In order to restore my account, they were demanding that I send them a photocopy of my driver’s license ID as well as another legal form of identification to prove who I am & that a real person was behind the account.

    Hmph. My first pseudonym merely had to identify its friends based on random photos that they had posted at one time or another and then change to a slightly less preposterous pseudonym, but that was a while ago. I pretty much gave up on FB nearly a year ago.

  26. #27 Chris
    March 23, 2016

    My youngest used her paternal grandmother’s last name for her Facebook profile. My kids’ last name is uncommon, so they are quite easy to find. Which happened to my middle child who in high school was stalked by a girl in another high school (she actually called to apologize).

    Youngest child quit Facebook when she became unsatisfied with their security measures. The middle child just maximized the security of his Facebook page and only communicates with people he knows.

  27. #28 Allison Hagood
    March 31, 2016

    At the risk of beating a dead horse, I have screenshots of Heather admitting how she is gaming the system, and admitting her targeting and harassment of me.

  28. […] weeks ago, Skeptical Raptor and I wrote posts describing how a particularly vicious, nasty antivaccine troll named Heather Murray had […]

  29. […] mass reporting raids are nothing new. Islamists report atheists. Anti-vaxxer report science. Tumblrina’s report TERFs. And private groups have righteous crusaders have existed for a […]

  30. #31 Stacy Herlihy
    United States
    June 3, 2016

    I’ve been banned for a week from Facebook because of the following post. I hope the powers that be are happy there, doing the bidding of a neo-nazi anti-vax lunatic:

    A few years ago when I first had the idea of writing a book on vaccines to share all I had learned about the subject I thought I would tackle the project myself. I thought I could handle it. I hadn’t written a book before but I’m a reasonably good writer and heaven knows I’ve bought and read enough books to open up my own public library at least twice over.

    Then I remembered something.

    I remembered that many people who are opposed to vaccines aren’t particularly nice. I remembered that these are the people who call the HPV vaccine, a vaccine that can literally prevent cancer, (YES CANCER!) a vaccine that is given to ten year olds “the slut shot.” They harass Dr. Offit, (a personal hero of mine) the inventor of a vaccine that has literally helped save thousands of lives, so much that he doesn’t dare do a book tour.

    Yeah.

    Before the book, I’d been writing and commenting on this subject for over a decade. During that time I’d been called all kinds of names. To my shock (because who the heck thinks saving kids from polio and pertussis is controversial?) I was called the kind of names that make you look at someone like they eat kittens for breakfast.

    So I found a co-author. A brave, fierce, amazing, wonderfully intelligent co-author. I found someone passionate and devoted who I knew would be able to able to stand up in public with me.

    And here we are a few years later in a place I never quite expected to be. As we start to work on a second book, I am sadly forced to write about my dismay and horror at the hours of hell that Allison has endured at the hands of those who refuse to remember history or let science be at our side.

    In her own words:

    “Since co-authoring a book for parents on vaccines (“Your Baby’s Best Shot: Why Vaccines are Safe and Save Lives”), I have been cyberstalked, cyberharassed, doxed, and threatened by anti-vaccine advocates. My personal home address was published on social media. My employer has been contacted numerous times by anti-vaccine advocates demanding that I be disciplined, fired, or silenced from engaging in vaccine advocacy. Death and rape threats have been posted against me. I am under almost constant harassment by anti-vaccine advocates fraudulently reporting posts and photos on my social media pages.”

    This is the world we live in: a world in which a vaccine advocate — a person who believes that children deserve to be protected against horrible preventable diseases, diseases that maim, deafen and literally kill — that person is allowed by our society to be harassed at work at every turn.

    I can only stand back and offer my support to someone who does not deserve to be treated this way. Please join me in standing for Allison Hagood as she stands up to those who shun science and threaten us all.

  31. […] in both cases, my university and cancer center stood buy me. Another favored method is to abuse Facebook reporting algorithms to get Facebook to issue temporary bans to pro-science vaccine advocates. They even brag about how […]

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