Craig Silverman, a blogger with Buzz Feed, posed these questions to the publisher of The Buffalo Chronicle, Matthew Ricchiazzi. Here of his responses in their entirety.
Have you ever received any kind of warning or notice from Facebook about your content being deemed false by its fact-checkers?
No, never — it’s not false. We report in good faith and are confident in all of our reporting to date. That’s especially true as it relates to this year’s coverage of the Canadian election and the Trudeau government. We reported many details of the SNC Lavalin scandal months before the State-funded media in Canada did.
The ads for these two Trudeau stories appear to have been targeted at people in the US. I was curious why you targeted Americans rather than Canadians? Did FB prevent you from targeting Canadians?
Earlier this year Facebook made changes to the way that it allows publishers to distribute content. The platform no longer allows promoting political content outside of a single national jurisdiction.
How much did you spend on these ads?
Less than $120.
Facebook has a policy of not letting pages that have repeatedly published false content use its ads tools. Do you think this should apply to your page?
Again, I’ve not published anything fake.
You also previously ran an ad for a story saying that Bill and Hillary Clinton were “suspected” of having a role in the deaths of 47 people. Do you believe the Clintons have had people murdered?
There are people in the world who suspect the Clintons of playing a role in dozens of deaths – I understand more than 47 deaths – which is what is explained and detailed in that article. Whether or not I believe they were is beside the point, isn’t it?
People should read the facts and make up their own minds. The narrative that the Clintons had four dozen close personal friends who commit suicide, die in freak plane crashes or are horrifically murdered strains credulity. Does anyone else on the planet have 40 close personal friends who’ve committed suicide?
In this article, you write that Facebook recently stopped you from being able to use its ad tools. Can you tell me when this happened and what the company told you?
The company has been adding layers and layers of new restrictions on distributing any content that can even remotely be described as political, since earlier this year.
That’s been for everyone who is promoting political content. But unlike politicians, I’m not distributing content to promote anyone. I’m distributing content in the same way that a newspaper pays a printer to distribute content – just in the digital age. So my expenditure of money promoting content promoted The Buffalo Chronicle as a platform and a brand for political news journalism. It’s not an ad for or against anyone else besides The Chronicle.
In addition to the many new restrictions they’ve introduced for everyone, like requiring registration in each country you distribute content, they’ve also targeted The Buffalo Chronicle’s page with technological restrictions that reduce our content’s organic reach (by serving the content to fewer newsfeeds, relative to similarly situated content). They’ve also disabled some of our page’s functionalities: no access to Live Streaming content; and no longer able to invite those who’ve reacted to post content to Like the page.
I heard back from Facebook, who said they have not prevented your page from placing ads, though you would need to have registered as a political advertiser in Canada if you wanted to run ads there during the election period. If you’d like to comment for the story I’d need to hear back from you by 10 am ET Tuesday. Thank you.
This is not accurate. In the week prior to Canada’s federal election, I was unable to utilize for-pay distribution tools for any content published with a BuffaloChronicle.com domain. So Trudeau should consider himself in receipt of a massive intangible campaign contribution from Zuckerberg and big tech.
We had to rely only on the organic reach of the sharing that readers were doing on their own. If we were not being discriminated against for our political views, Justin Trudeau would no longer be Prime Minister.