Prof challenges Facebook for removing Warren controversy page
The owner of a website that details various controversies surrounding Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., says an accompanying Facebook page was taken down without any notice after it was deemed in violation of Facebook’s policy against impersonation.
William Jacobson, a law professor at Cornell Law School, owns and runs elizabethwarrenwiki.org — a website dedicated to various controversies surrounding the Democratic presidential candidate, particularly her claims to have Native American heritage.
He also ran an accompanying Facebook page, which posted articles from the site.
“It was a way of getting the content out to the public,” he told Fox News in an interview.
But on Monday afternoon, he received a notice saying it had been taken down for violating policies regarding impersonation. Facebook’s community standards forbid users from using other peoples’ images to deceive or mislead people about the origin of the content.
“Pages, groups and events must not impersonate or falsely represent a brand, entity or public figure,” the policies state. “Where a Page, group or event is being used to express support for or interest in a brand, entity or public figure, it must make clear in the name or description that it is not an official representation.”
But Jacobson maintains that the page was in line with Facebook standards as it carried a disclaimer that said that it was not affiliated with Warren’s campaign or Senate office. He posted a screengrab of that disclaimer in an article for Legal Insurrection. He also said that the site never attempted to impersonate Warren, even with the disclaimer.
“The page is called ‘Elizabeth Warren Wiki’ and it has a link to the wiki website and all of the content posted was from the wiki website, so no one could look at the page and think this is her campaign or Senate office because everything was from the wiki website,” he said.
“I think we covered all our bases, and I don’t know how this happened,” he said.
Jacobson said he immediately filed an appeal via the Facebook process but has not heard back yet — and the site is still down as of Tuesday afternoon.
In his original article flagging his concerns, he wrote: “It’s another reminder, as when our YouTube page was taken down without warning, that we can’t rely on big tech.”
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News. Jacobson said he is not sure why the site was pulled, but wondered if a recent feud between Warren’s supporters and those of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was partly responsible.
“All I know is the last couple of days there was a Twitter war between Bernie and Warren supporters, and Bernie’s supporters were linking to the wiki website,” he said. “It might be pure coincidence or it might be that someone decided to complain to Facebook about the page.”
The suspension comes just as comments emerged from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg warning that the company may have to sue the government if Warren becomes president.
“You have someone like Elizabeth Warren thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies … I mean, if she gets elected president then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge,” Zuckerberg said in July, according to The Verge.