The unfortunate reality is that reporting on social media companies playing favorites and banning, blocking, or shadow banning content they – or their handlers – find disagreeable, is not likely to end anytime soon. In conversations with industry professionals over the last week, I’ve had several that said, “We just need to sue them. All of us.”
While I’m not in favor of the moderation that big tech exercises while also having liability protections, there are private company rights that must be respected. I think we can all agree that big tech has abused the insulation they have from tort, and surrendered those rights long ago. That opinion is shared by Mark Abady, one of the co-owners of WeShoot in Lakewood, New Jersey, who chatted with me about the numerous bans he’s been dealing with on his company’s social media pages.
WeShoot is a range and gun shop that services the Jersey Shore and central Jersey residents, owned and operated by Mark Abady, Eli Bivas, and Tony Altieri. Being close to the shore, the location is not too far off the beaten path for people who recreate at the Garden State’s many destinations, to have them pop in and enjoy a slice of liberty within the confines of the Land of 1000 Diners. The location was formerly the home of two other range/gun shop businesses.
Full disclosure, I first met Abady in 2020 and Altieri in 2015. I was a part-time range safety officer of Altieri’s when the range was under different management/ownership.
WeShoot happens to be one of the highest quality ranges that people can visit in the area, and they have done a phenomenal job at making themselves a destination. Part of their success, I think, has a lot to do with their fantastic marketing paired with top notch customer service.
The company has gained quite a following and Abady is proud of the content they put out on social media. When chatting with Abady about the social media presence, he told me that all the photographs they post and content that they put out is original. They don’t steal and share other people’s work. It’s all WeShoot’s. That original content has driven social media users to their pages and they’ve racked up quite the number of followers.
WeShoot is dealing with many of the same issues that others in industries labeled as vice or not socially compatible with a progressive set of ideals. Abady said they’re constantly battling bans, having their content blocked, and there’s shadow banning. More recently, I had seen a post on Facebook brining this all up, where Abady wrote on his personal page:
Here we go again. They ban me and removed two posts from our Weshoot account, which is a brick-and-mortar Federal and State Licensed Firearms Dealer, and according to their policies we are allowed [to post]. Every post we make, has the picture of our store and license, and we mention on every post that we are a brick and mortar licensed dealer. We’ve even submitted copies of the license to FACEBOOK, and notarized paperwork to proof that we are a legit business, and the Censorship continues.
It was after that post that caused me to ring Abady to learn what was going on. He told me that they’ve jumped through all kinds of hoops in order to not have their posts censored. Abady reiterated what he said in his post but also talked to me about shadow bans. He said that they’ve experimented and had three people like their page or a post, and then following that, the analytics would only register one like. Following that, they would be down three. Abady feels – like most of us know – that the shadow bans are real and big tech does not want to allow freedom related content to proliferate.
Abady said that they still ban or block content a lot, even after all that vetting. The recent one started as a one day ban, then three day ban, and that was just extended to a month. The official WeShoot page cannot post images for a month, and that’s going to really hinder the momentum they’ve been having using the social media site.
Abady also indicated the WeShoot page has been subjected to not being seen by people unless they follow them. Trying to find them on some of the pages requires typing in their exact name, otherwise they won’t show up in the search (I could not find their Instagram page via google, interestingly enough).
WeShoot made this post on their page discussing the issue the same day I spoke with Abady:
🚨 Update: Facebook has temporarily restricted our ability to post images for a month. Even after presenting evidence of compliance with their guidelines, it appears their firearm-related bias led to this decision. We’d like to remind everyone that Meta policies do recognize exceptions for licensed brick-and-mortar dealers and official websites. We’ve always adhered to community standards and never engaged in sales on social platforms.
While our posting might be limited for now, we encourage you to stay updated with us on Instagram @WESHOOT_EXPERIENCE. Thanks for your continued support! 🙏
#CENSORSHIP #freedomofspeech #constitutionalrights #ABUSE
Just one day following that post, the company made the decision to make public the full scope of what they’ve been dealing with.
Dear Followers, Customers, and Members!
Despite META’s policies permitting firearms posts, Facebook has chosen to restrict us from sharing images. To ensure we can keep serving and updating you, we’re shifting our attention to X.com (formerly known as Twitter). Join us and continue to support us at X.com under our handle @WESHOOTUSA.
We will limit our posting on Facebook, due to the fact that there is a possibility that our page will be shot down by META in the future, as they’ve done before in the past; that’s why we kindly ask you to follow us on our platforms.
To Mark Zuckerberg [ @Zuck ] and the META Board of Dictators… sorry, Directors: Policies should be clear, fair, and consistently enforced. 𝐋𝐢𝐦𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐨𝐦 𝐨𝐟 𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐞𝐜𝐡, 𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐢𝐭 𝐠𝐨𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐩𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐞𝐬, 𝐬𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐚 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭. Many have sacrificed immensely to protect these rights. Keep in mind that your grandkids might not enjoy the freedom of speech right that many gave their life to secure. Hope META will reconsider its policies and stop catering to the anti-american mobs.
And to show proof of compliance, here is the most updated version of META’s Policy for restricted goods, which can be verified at this link:
𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐆𝐨𝐨𝐝𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐒𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐬
To encourage safety and deter potentially harmful activities, we prohibit attempts by individuals, manufacturers, and retailers to purchase, sell, raffle, gift, transfer or trade certain goods and services on our platform. We do not tolerate the exchange or sale of any drugs that may result in substance abuse covered under our policies below. 𝑩𝒓𝒊𝒄𝒌-𝒂𝒏𝒅-𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒂𝒓 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒐𝒏𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝒓𝒆𝒕𝒂𝒊𝒍𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒎𝒂𝒚 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒎𝒐𝒕𝒆 𝒇𝒊𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒎𝒔, alcohol, and tobacco items available for sale off of our services; however, we restrict visibility of this content for minors. 𝑾𝒆 𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒐𝒘 𝒅𝒊𝒔𝒄𝒖𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔 𝒂𝒃𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒂𝒍𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒔𝒆 𝒈𝒐𝒐𝒅𝒔 𝒊𝒏 𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒆𝒔 𝒐𝒓 𝒃𝒚 𝒐𝒏𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝒓𝒆𝒕𝒂𝒊𝒍𝒆𝒓𝒔, as well as advocating for changes to regulations of goods and services covered in this policy.
𝐷𝑜 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑡:
Attempts to buy, sell, or trade, firearms, firearm parts, ammunition, explosives, or lethal enhancements 𝒆𝒙𝒄𝒆𝒑𝒕 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝒑𝒐𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝒂 𝑷𝒂𝒈𝒆, 𝑮𝒓𝒐𝒖𝒑 𝒐𝒓 𝑰𝒏𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒈𝒓𝒂𝒎 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒇𝒊𝒍𝒆 𝒓𝒆𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒍𝒆𝒈𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒂𝒕𝒆 𝒃𝒓𝒊𝒄𝒌-𝒂𝒏𝒅-𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒂𝒓 𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒔, 𝒊𝒏𝒄𝒍𝒖𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒓𝒆𝒕𝒂𝒊𝒍 𝒃𝒖𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒔, 𝒘𝒆𝒃𝒔𝒊𝒕𝒆𝒔, brands or government agencies (e.g. police department, fire department) 𝒐𝒓 𝒂 𝒑𝒓𝒊𝒗𝒂𝒕𝒆 𝒊𝒏𝒅𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒅𝒖𝒂𝒍 𝒔𝒉𝒂𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒐𝒏 𝒃𝒆𝒉𝒂𝒍𝒇 𝒐𝒇 𝒍𝒆𝒈𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒂𝒕𝒆 𝒃𝒓𝒊𝒄𝒌-𝒂𝒏𝒅-𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒂𝒓 𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒔.
As you can see, we are exempt from their restrictions, since we are a FEDERAL and STATE FIREARMS DEALER LICENSEE, with a BRICK-AND-MORTAR Location and Website. We have also sent META notarized paperwork and copy of ID and the FFL License, and almost every post includes a picture that has a copy of our FFL License, and pictures of our store, and mentions that we are compliant with their policies.
This is an abuse on behalf of META and Facebook, and we fighting back!
#WESHOOTUSA #WESHOOT #constitutionalrights #freedomofspeech #Censorship #metapolicies #WeDidntDoNothingWrong
The fine people at WeShoot don’t have much recourse in keeping themselves out of the hot seat with META, even if they are following the Zuck’s policies. Like so many other content creators, they are being censored, blocked, and banned, and this is while staying within the confines of META’s rules.
This is another example of how big tech is shilling for the progressive anti-civil liberty pinkos who are pulling the strings.
Where this really gets to me is, Abady – and his colleagues – just wants to promote the shooting sports and the Second Amendment. Yes, he’s a businessman, so I’m not naive and realize there’s money to be made, however, his goal is to be one of the locations in New Jersey that goes out of their way to normalize gun ownership. They’ve worked very hard to become the welcoming and embracing location that they are. META is subverting more than a business, they are diminishing WeShoot’s core messages.
What can we do as consumers? Like and subscribe to content like WeShoot’s. Visit the social media pages of the companies and personalities that you like. If we’re going to be a thorn in their sides, we might as well be big thorns in their sides.
Feel like tossing WeShoot some love? You can check out their Facebook page, Instagram page, and X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) page, and take in, like, and share their content. If you’re in New Jersey, God help you, but consider stopping in to visit the destination.
As I opened up, there’s a big appetite among the Second Amendment crowd to fight back against these social media companies, and sue them. Unilaterally, the opinion that I got from those I chatted with was that we need everyone onboard. The entire industry of makers, sellers, journalists, and everyone in between. Why haven’t we seen this yet as a concerted effort? I don’t know. But, I’m going to be keeping my ear close to the rail to listen for litigation to report on. In the meantime, let’s all support each other the best we can, and certainly don’t pack up our marbles to go home – there’s no reason we should give them what they want.