9:15 AM CST | November 5, 2018
It has become well-documented how Texas Storm Watch's post reach has been significantly reduced on the page, how Facebook has prevented me from inviting people who like the page to the group, how images on posts (both in the page and group) have mysteriously disappeared, etc. Post reach has been an issue for some time now, but the other developments have been within the last 4-6 weeks. I wrote an extensive post on the Facebook page here. You can read it for yourself if you would like.
I spent a few hours last night trying to figure out why this is happening. I came across an interesting article on a website called "Life Site News" which details Facebook's response to an accusation of "shadow banning" this summer. You can see the screenshot below. Basically, every post is "checked" for authenticity by a third party. If the fact checker determines that there is not enough factual support for the post, they will deem it as "fake news". Facebook confirmed that the reach of that post loses about 80% of its reach. Repeated offenders see a demoted page with reduced visibility and possible restrictions. What could have caused Facebook to demote Texas Storm Watch, as it appears to have done? Could it be mentioning the recurring cycle theory? The recurring cycle theory is a tool we utilize to help predict weather systems weeks and months away. It was originally founded by a Kansas City meteorologist. You can learn more about it and see an example of its usefulness here. It is plausible that Facebook's third party fact checker has determined that this theory is "fake news". As such, this would be the reason that the platform has clamped down on our page and, to a lesser extent, the group.
What I find most disturbing about this idea is that, I clearly discuss it for what it is - a theory. At the same time, why is it so hard to entertain the idea that the weather pattern resets every fall, perhaps in response to the autumnal equinox. If Facebook was around decades and centuries ago, just how many "theories" that were later proved correct would have been suppressed? If we allow ourselves to be limited to only truths we know today, how can we ever improve as a nation, as a society? Around 500 B.C., a Greek named Pythagoras first proposed that the earth was round. He believed that, if the moon was indeed round, the earth must be too. About 150 years later, Aristotle declared the earth to be round. How many scientific theories right now are being determined as "fake news" and suppressed on Facebook? I believe the answer is too many. Whether theories are correct, we should at least have the freedom to discuss and debate their legitimacy. We should not be bound by some "fact checker" which may even be automated for all we know. There is a reason our nation's First Amendment is the right to free speech.
This will be the last time I will discuss this issue for a while. I am going to focus solely on the weather, and the next discussion will be on the weather later this week. For the latest local weather information for your area, please visit the National Weather Service website. Check the blog daily for weather updates. If you are on Facebook, I recommend (1) liking the Facebook page and (2) joining the group to help make sure you see the weather updates. Given the issues mentioned, I would suggest visiting both a few times a week to see the latest and catch up on any updates that did not show in your newsfeed. I thank you again for your support. Have a nice day. -Wesley