Republican Senate Candidate Austin Petersen Has His Personal Facebook Page Suspended

He doesn't know why, and the former Libertarian finds it worth noting Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is a maxed-out donor to his potential Democratic opponent.


Austin Petersen, runner-up in the scrum for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination in 2016, is now seeking the Republican Party's nomination for a Senate seat in Missouri.

Austin Petersen for Senate Facebook

He's always used social networking extensively to communicate with and keep his potential constituents excited. So he feels especially hobbled now that Facebook has suspended his ability to use or update his personal page, for reasons he says he still doesn't understand. (His professional campaign-oriented page is still active.)

The suspension does not make the page disappear, but for now, Petersen writes in an email interview today, "I cannot post, like, comment, or use my personal page to post to any of the myriad facebook pages I am an admin of."

Facebook is in the midst of controversy over its potential role in shaping American politics in a non-neutral way, and Petersen wonders in an open letter to founder Mark Zuckerberg whether there might be a political bias involved in his still-mysterious personal suspension.

In that email interview today, Petersen writes that "I was signed out of Facebook on all my devices [last week], and when I signed back in, I received a message saying that my livestream had been the cause of me being banned for 30 days. This was a livestream done on my professional public facing account (Austin Petersen), but it was my personal account (Austin Wade) that got the ban."

The livestream in question was promoting a raffle giveaway of an AR-15 rifle. Fox News in reporting on Petersen's ban today thinks it found in Facebook's posted "community standards" a reason: "The purchase, sale or trade of firearms, ammunition and explosives between private individuals isn't allowed on Facebook." (Fox was not able to get Facebook to speak directly about the matter.)

Petersen says that in communication with Hines Digital, a company that helps his campaign with digital strategies, a Facebook official verbally insisted that there was not an inherent problem with giving away that gun, but hinted that an automatic AI may have interpreted a video about a gun as something potentially dangerous and worth immediate takedown. The "automatic" story might not hold water, Petersen says, since "the AI they state takes down videos almost instantaneously, while my video wasn't taken down until 24 hours after it was created."

As Petersen wrote in his open letter, "At the same time the block was affected, a Facebook Live video I had posted to my Official Page promoting my campaign's AR-15 giveaway was removed. A few days later, a Status Update posted to my Profile referencing the same giveaway was also removed." However, "several posts promoting the giveaway, including paid "Dark Posts," remain visible on our page."

Petersen wonders aloud in his open letter to Zuckerberg about the propriety of seemingly arbitrary clampdowns on a political candidate, especially considering that the company's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has donated "the maximum allowable amount to my opponent" (incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill).

Petersen in his open letter to Zuckerberg writes that:

I've been following with interest your recent statements defending Facebook as an unbiased platform "for all ideas." I hope that's really true. However, blocking a candidate for the United States Senate for exercising support of the Second Amendment — especially when that candidate is challenging an incumbent favored by members of your board — is cause for concern and worthy of a larger conversation and a public explanation.

He prefaced his letter to Zuckerberg with assurances he would never use his power as a senator, were he to win the office, to "call for legislation to interfere with your ability to run your company, or set guidelines on user's behavior."

As of this afternoon, Petersen writes in the emailed interview that "We are still awaiting word from Facebook on if my personal account will be reinstated."

NEXT: This Video of a Student Stealing a MAGA Hat Is Your Depressing Dose of Reality Today

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  1. Hey Mark Zuckerberg: GO FUCK YOURSELF. You and that cunt Sheryl Sandberg.

    Disgusting progressive pigs.

    1. While in principle I agree, this rant is not helpful in addressing the core issue: we need many more alternatives to Facebook, so that people can “vote with their feet”.

      Also, treating Facebook as a public utility isn’t a libertarian solution to the problem either. Once again, let’s get a free market solution.

      Somewhere in the libertarian community there should be someone willing and able to start a project to launch a competing application. Yes, I know that alternatives do exist (e.g. LinkedIn, Nextdoor, etc.) but for whatever reason Facebook remains the biggest player.

      How about it, folks? A LibertyBook?

      1. Fuck off

        1. Your obvious intellectual prowess overwhelms our poor powers of persuasion. It’s obvious that you must have graduated with honors from…

          first grade?

          Someday you may achieve the ability to count beyond ten with your shoes on. Then you will be unstoppable 🙂

  2. FB needs to be treated like a utility and/or place of public accommodation. Anything else is basically the government outsourcing censorship.

    1. “FB needs to be treated like a utility and/or place of public accommodation. Anything else is basically the government outsourcing censorship.”

      So you’d rather the gov’t keep it in-house?

      1. I’m hoping he was kidding.

        1. So do I, though there are people who believe this, nothing to stop them from posting here to articulate their position.

    2. I find disconcerting the rumblings by the nonleft to use antitrust law (or any other law as in the above comment) to target companies like Facebook or Google simply because of these companies’ abhorrent politics. Yes, they’re large, but that is because they have a product that many people have voluntarily chosen to use. Using government power to kneecap a business having legitimate success should be rejected.

      1. You’ll get some objections to your argument, but not from me.
        Large businesses have no access to coercion (unless you include tertiary education under the expanded Title IX rules).

    3. With the way people treat Facebook as if it’s some neutral non-partisan news operation instead of just a website where you can post pictures of your food and cats, I’m honestly waiting for the day when the far left and/or far right decides to push to turn Facebook into a utility. No joke.

      It’ll just be a bonus that the NSA and all the rest of the alphabet soup will have a user-tagged facial recognition database. I mean, assuming of course that isn’t already happening (it is).

  3. It’s weird. AR-15 has become the gun of choice in a lot of scare stories. I don’t know guns, and so I don’t know what an AR-15 is, but it’s always the scary name referenced in news stories.

    1. It’s the gun you start with in every CoD4 single-player mission except the Chernobyl and Cargo Ship levels.

      Only with a distressingly lower rate of fire and way shakier ADS in the IRL civilian version.

      1. Every CoD since CoD: World at War, was crap: fact.
        Another fact: CoD 3 was the best CoD.

        1. No love for the Afghan horseback madness in BLOPS 2? Shooting down heloes, slashing people with scimitars, firing a minigun off horseback all in the space of 20 seconds?

          And WaW came out *after* CoD4 you know.

  4. Facebook is lasting a lot longer than I thought it would. I’m not on it so I guess I’m not a good gauge of its usefulness.

    1. Maybe that explains its longevity.

    2. Aren’t like half the accounts bots at this point?

      1. That’s LinkedIn.

        1. And tinder

          1. And Reason

      2. I’d guess way more than half of them are bots, sock puppets, groups, and generally ‘things that aren’t a real user’ but those inflate their user numbers and they can charge more to advertisers because of it.

        Of course, last I checked Facebook doesn’t actually produce anything except confidential user information. I haven’t looked at their stock price in a while, mostly because it’s depressing that something so useless is worth so much (or was last I saw, back when it was first offered. I’m sure it’s less now?)

    3. “Facebook is lasting a lot longer than I thought it would.”

      If your flawed social media platform lasts longer than four years, pat yourself on the back and collect the money.

    4. The network effect is particularly strong in social media, which makes it very difficult for competitors to compete with the established companies.

      1. True, except that Facebook is already losing the under-20 demographic in a big way so competition is possible.

  5. If you use FaceBook remember that you are the product they are selling to advertisers, you are not the customer. I urge you to join me and #QuitFacebookColdTurkey you will feel refreshed and your computer will run cleaner.

    1. That’s true of nearly any media.

      1. Facebook takes the model to extremes. We’re all better off avoiding it.

        1. “Facebook takes the model to extremes. We’re all better off avoiding it.”

          There are more compelling reasons IMO.
          Wife set up a FB page for a club. It had to be ‘weeded’ on a daily basis to keep it swept of porn (the club don’t like no porn), spam, run-of-the-mill wackos, and other human waste. So, sort of like getting an aquarium, a FB page means daily (or more) maintenance to make sure it doesn’t become infected.
          Or perhaps ‘hihnfected’; I’m sure Mike leaves his scat in places other than here.

          1. Yeah, public-facing or commercial profiles are a nightmare. As part of her job my sister used to have to sweep the My Little Pony cartoon’s FB page of the same. The content posted there was…unnerving.

    2. I haven’t logged in to facebook in about 3 or 4 years now. Can’t remember exactly.

      The problem is I think I need to get back on. The only way to socialize nowadays is through social media. If you want to know when the next party or meetup or club meeting is, you pretty much have to do it through facebook (or instragram or something like that).

      It’s pretty fucking useless otherwise.

      People won’t even just have an email list anymore. Nope, you gotta join their facebook group. sigh

      1. “If you want to know when the next party or meetup or club meeting is, you pretty much have to do it through facebook (or instragram or something like that).”

        Avoiding FB is sounding better all the time!

      2. The only way to socialize nowadays is through social media.

        Did you read that on FB?

        1. Are you not a member of the ImNotOnFacebook Facebook group?

          1. Naah.
            I’m a member of “fuckitnotonyourlife”

      3. What Facebook really needs is a “no politics” policy. It’s a fine tool for organizing social events. But I just can’t take the central role politics takes in the culture these days.

        1. Nearly every facet of life and living today has become made a political issue. Politics has become the worlds largest religion, a living religion where Gods come and go and heaven and hell exist or can be made to exist in the immediate present either temporary or permanent until death. Even the Catholic Pope has recognized that his powers result not from a supernatural God but from his submission to a consortium of humans whose agenda is promoted by the politicians they fund to serve as the face of power.

  6. Aren’t AR’s selling for like $300 now?

    1. Hmm. I just looked and I found some in the $450 – 500 range. Amazing. I guess I haven’t paid attention, but that’s pretty good.

      1. November ’16 verstock.

        The irony is that Hillary did vastly more damage to the gun industry by losing than she would’ve by winning.

        1. That’s a fact. Obama was the best thing to happen to the firearm industry in a long, long time. Hillary might have continued that trend.

          I imagine it’s a double-edged sword for the industry. Sure, one of those Democrats might make your product illegal but at the same time that fact makes people buy a whole lot more of your products.

          What a conundrum!

      2. I think if you take them out to the range, you’ll find that reliable ARs with needed or available accessories will run you in the low teens up to low 2K. The idea being that you might want to someday rely on them for something besides tin cans.

        1. LE6920 will do that for 1k. And I think I saw them going for 800$ right after the Hillpocalypse.

        2. Only if you’re spending as much/more on the optic as you are on the rifle.

    2. I think the lowest price I’ve seen is $375 or so. Lots of decent looking ones from $500-$900 or so.

  7. My only beef with Petersen is that he looks like a college Young Republican leader. You want to ask for his ID, even if he’s ordering a Coke.

    But I imagine that getting into mainstream politics will give him that aged and seasoned look before you know it.

    1. The man needs to grow a beard. Nothing crazy (I say through my six inches of beard and thick mustache), but a trim half-inch box-beard would fit with his farm-background tales and make him look more age-appropriate for the job.

  8. Try changing it to “AK-47” and see what happens.

    1. Then the Russian hackers would allow it.

      1. Nuh-uh, it’s not a black gun.

        Wait, what did you think “Blacktivist” meant?

  9. defending Facebook as an unbiased platform “for all ideas.”

    That is, “for all *reasonable* ideas.”

  10. I conjecture that bocking his account is in itself an illegal campaign contribution worth more if converted to its cash value then the legal maximum donation?

  11. recent statements defending Facebook as an unbiased platform “for all ideas.”

    ” . . found in Facebook’s posted “community standards” a reason: “The purchase, sale or trade of firearms, ammunition and explosives between private individuals isn’t allowed on Facebook.”

    That standard sounds a whole lot like bias to me.

    But then, I have actually read the constitution, unlike whats-his-name that runs the social media for the dems.

    1. I don’t have much of a problem with them having that as a policy. There are plenty of sites for gun sales.

      But the raffle is certainly not a violation of the policy. A gun won from a raffle or whatever it is is definitely going to be transferred through a licensed dealer.

  12. On the “politics is everywhere now” front, I watched the return of “Will and Grace” with the wife tonight.

    For some reason they decided that it would be great to start with an episode devoted entirely to politics. And not just any politics, but the snarky, Huffington Post comments section sort of politics. The entire episode was about how Republicans and tough guy secret service guys are all secretly gay, and Republicans are dirty and evil and homophobic and they hate clean water and trees. And mostly about how awful Trump is. Not because of his political positions, but just because we all hate him. And he’s orange, like a Cheeto. (yes, they actually did a visual joke with a bag of Cheetos)

    The writing was absolutely horrific, even when they weren’t making silly HuffPo style political screeds that don’t actually align very well with reality.

    In short, if you hate Trump, it was wonderful. The wife thought it was great.. especially when they made the Cheetos joke and when they left a hat in the Oval Office that said “Make America Gay Again”.

    1. But the real reason I wanted to comment on it was that they hit a home run in the irony department.

      The entire episode was about Grace getting a job as an interior decorator to do the Oval Office. The characters on the show (and obviously the writers) believed that she should never take a job providing a service for Trump, because of her political beliefs. She ended up refusing the job, making her a hero, I suppose.

      I really couldn’t help noticing the parallels and wondering if they would have felt the same way if Trump had asked her to bake a cake.

      1. She’d bake it as fast as she can.

      2. we all know perfectly well that when a leftist does it, it’s principles but when a Christian does it, it’s hate. And they are incapable of irony, it’s stupidity.

    2. “And mostly about how awful Trump is.”

      Wife and I read different news sources and while neither of us voted for him but we are both happy the hag is not POTUS.
      Our desks are back-to-back in the office so we can’t see which source the other is reading, but over coffee in the morning we joke back and forth about who did the best “Trump is a Big Poopyhead!” story.
      It is often VERY amusing to see the stretch to which one of the sources will reach.
      TDS seems to be incurable…

    3. They brought that show back? Jesus, they really are out of idea’s.

      All the characters, if memory serves, were basically caricatures of your typical HuffPo reader so I suppose there’s really no shock there.

    4. It’s like Nick Gillespie and Scott Shackford became Hollywood producers.

  13. His nickname is “Auggy?”

    Looking at him I can believe that, but I don’t think that is going to go well with his potential voters.

  14. He doesn’t know why, and the former Libertarian finds it worth noting Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is a maxed-out donor to his potential Democratic opponent.

    Oh, we know why.

  15. Heh, he got Faceberged.

  16. It is wrong that Facebook decided to ban Peterson’s account because he showed pictures of “scary guns” even if Facebook has the right to do so.

    I will also say, however, that I’ve become a little bit disappointed in Peterson’s Senate campaign so far. He is turning into yet another standard-issue Republican. I follow his Twitter feed and he has gone full GOP-derpy on the NFL kneeling thing, for instance. When is he going to get around to talking about, you know, real liberty? Real liberty is more than just “fighting the left” and retweeting videos of people burning their NFL tickets.

    1. Agreed. I signed up for his newsletter just to see what tone he struck and other than an occasional antiwar throwaway line his language has been indistinguishable from my establishment Representative for months.

  17. I certainly agree that there are issues with FB and google in terms of bias. But here is the thing:
    THEY ARE FREE! Users pay nothing. The idea that they should be regulated like public utilities is asinine.
    One of the reasons electric and water and cable are regulated is because there really can’t be competition for infrastructure. 4 different water companies can’t be laying underground pipe to every where. (Not saying there aren’t ways to deregulate, just that that is one reason they are regulated.) The other reason is the more typical lefty view of not “gouging” the customers.
    Social media shares neither of these characteristics.
    There is no physical reason you can’t use different search engines, or different ways to connect with other people. And of course, nobody is getting “gouged” since they are free to use.

    1. They’re “free” if money all that matters you. They’re costing us dearly in terms of liberty though. You might be OK with these assholes selling every bit of your personal information and searches to the government to be permantly stored in their Dark Star database. I am not.

  18. I gave up on Fakebook, because the policy it operates under is truly garbage. Up front things look good: “You own all of the content and information you post…” Chew on that briefly because ‘ownership’ is a term that indicates control, which they do not respect on just a whim. Now move on down and weep at the schizophrenia of their position: “We can remove any content or information you post on Facebook if we believe that it violates this Statement or our policies.” Note that they don’t need to have command of their own policies or even pretend to understand them – they just have to believe something when they don’t like what you put on your page. This is no policy, but a fraud. So… it’s time for some legal action to sweep aside the ‘beliefs’ of those admins that just show up and apply some sort of ipso facto decree and spotlight the one concrete acknowledgement they do make for whatever court will hear it loud and clear: it’s your content, and you OWN it.
    Social justice warriors need a lesson on ownership, and have their soapbox smashed to bits. Maybe Zuckerberg can get caned the next time he visits his money in Singapore… maybe.

  19. Is this not manipulation of the election, say of the felony persuasion, if it is proven? Removing the senator from one of his major connections, with his future constituents, seems like blatant manipulation. I am ignorant about the laws, in this instance. But, it just seems WRONG!

  20. Did the winner of the AR-15 throw it in the trash?

  21. It’s time for a Justice Dept investigation of Facebook and Twitter and any other platform that blocks users.

  22. Join the club, Austin. There seem to be a lot of “suspension notices” pouring out of FakeBook’s HQ these days – Mark must have developed a thin-skin condition that is very advanced.

  23. Republican Senate Candidate Austin Petersen Has His Personal Facebook Page Suspended – Hit & Run : Reason.comis the best post by imo for pc Please visit imo app imo app snaptube for pc snaptube app

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