…Time to cook up a meme. Ward settled on a provocative one: “Obama called the SEALs and THEY got bin Laden. When the SEALs called Obama, THEY GOT DENIED.” It worked. Over the next day or so, the thing had racked up 30,000 shares, says Ward, noting that it “was by far the best meme we’d had to date.”
The meme had a touch of the mischievous in it as well. It tagged the picture of President Obama to his Facebook campaign page, a move that officially alerted Team Obama that its guy had been featured in a photo on the SOS page. In other words, it was guaranteed to antagonize the president’s supporters. And that’s pretty much what happened, in Ward’s version of events. The next steps came quickly:
*Likely driven by offended Obamaites, Facebook sent Ward a warning about the meme. Take it down, said Facebook. Ward didn’t comply.
…*Ward re-posted the image along with Facebook’s rationale for removing it.
*Facebook took the image down again and froze the account for 24 hours, in effect stifling SOS on Facebook.
After all that censorship and bureaucracy, Facebook is now acknowledging that it was a mistake. Here’s the note that Facebook’s Andrew Noyes passed along to the Erik Wemple Blog: “This was an error and we apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused. They can feel free to repost the image.”
What a privilege!
There’s no question about the inconvenience: SOS is a group that’s trying to influence political behavior through open communication, something that Facebook is in business to defend and promote, not to crush. That it did so with just more than a week left before the election poses more of a crisis than an inconvenience for SOS. As Ward notes, SOS “invested a lot” in the Facebook page and spent 12 weeks building the thing.