Not QAnon

(WSVN) - He started a group on Facebook for ex-QAnon conspiracy theory believers, and it did not go over well. The problem wasn’t the QAnon believers; it was Facebook, who punished him by taking away 12 years of pictures, and that’s when he turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

In a stressful, hectic go-go world, James Miller has opted out.

James Miller: “We get up in the morning, have some coffee, leisurely take our time, go on a bike ride, putz around the yard.”

The laid-back lifestyle gives James a chance to enjoy hobbies. One of them, Facebook.

James Miller: “I’ve been on Facebook since 2009, so almost everything I’ve ever done since 2009, it’s on Facebook.”

James calls himself a liberal, and on Facebook enjoys keeping up with the right-wingers, especially the QAnon conspiracy believers.

James Miller: “I mean, it’s a cult. It’s just a cult, saying that Democrats are Satanists and eat babies. I mean, there’s nothing more ridiculous that’s being said anywhere today.”

After the election, James had an idea: create a QAnon recovery group on Facebook.

James Miller: “I explained in great detail that this was not a QAnon group; this is for ex-QAnon people, so that they can just get together and talk about their issues.”

James might have been a little naïve to think right-wing radicals would come to his Facebook page to talk about their disgust with QAnon, but he never got a chance to find out if it would work.

James Miller: “As soon as the group was created, and as soon as it went live, BLIP, it was gone. The message came up saying, ‘Your account has been permanently disabled and there is no review.'”

Facebook’s algorithms apparently spotted the words “QAnon: and thought James was spreading conspiracies, and so not only was the QAnon recovery page gone, so were 12 years of pictures.

James Miller: “Every single post from 2009, every single picture from 2009, is vapor, vanished, gone.”

In his appeal, James tried to explain his QAnon recovery idea was not spreading wild conspiracies. But if you are one of the 1.6 billion Facebook users, you know how useless appeals are.

James Miller: “They would need 50 million personnel to be able to handle all the, I’m sure, emails.”

So, Howard, can Facebook or any social media site shut you down, even though James doesn’t think he did anything wrong?

Howard Finkelstein: “First of all, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all social media outlets are private companies, and you have to play by their rules. You can say you have a First Amendment right to speak your mind, but whether you are on the left or the right, they can determine what is posted or said on their sites, and if they shut you down, they can take away all of your posts and pictures. Your only solution? Try to get in touch with them through their appeal process.”

We were able to get in touch with Facebook. They looked into James’ complaint, they told us they made a mistake, and his account was reinstated.

But that only lasted 10 hours.

James Miller: “They called me a name, and ironically, I used that same word in my response. I got a 30-day suspension.”

The left-leaning James got into a cussing match with a right-winger, breaking a Facebook rule, but at least his Facebook page and all his pictures will be back — when his 30-day suspension ends.

James Miller: “It was 12 years of pictures and memories of all kinds, so I’m very happy to have it back.”

And since Facebook is a private company and can delete your posts and pictures any time they want, back up your Facebook pictures. Facebook even has a download link to help you do that. Not a bad idea, even if you don’t push the envelope on the internet.

Facing an extreme problem? Don’t stay anonymous. Go to the internet and book us. We don’t use algorithms to make decisions; we rely on common sense.

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.