Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook has blocked my Facebook account for 24 hours because I shared a video of President Donald Trump saying in 2011 that former President Barack Obama wanted to go to war with Iran to get re-elected.
Facebook said my post went against their community standards on spam.
“No one else can see your post. We have these standards to help prevent people from misleading others. We may restrict your account if you violate our standards again,”Facebook said.
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Until my account is re-opened at 9.42 pm tomorrow Sunday, I would not be able to share the content of our news site TODAY NEWS AFRICA on any of our accounts on Facebook.
In all, we have about 200 thousand people who follow us daily and rely on us to inform them about Africa viewed from a global perspective.
We also break down for them, major news in the United States that may have global repercussions like the assassination of an Iran general in the orders of President Donald Trump at a time of great tensions between Iran and the United States.
As the publisher of todaynewsafrica.com, leading a team of dozens of reporters in the United States and in several countries in Africa, we rely heavily on social media to drive traffic share our factual reports.
As a result of this reckless temporary ban by Facebook, we will be losing money, readership and opportunities.
We understand that Facebook, a multi-billion dollar company that does not pay taxes in Africa may not care, but for people like us who work hard and earn close to nothing, every day lost, every opportunity that passes us bye is like a disaster.
It is a bit surprising that a video that is authentic would trigger sanctions against my personal account.
We are not for or against President Donald Trump. Ours is to report facts and stick with them, and accompany them sometimes with our own commentaries, which we are free to do.
We call on Facebook to do the honorable thing and reopen our account immediately and issue us an apology.
Facebook should go after Russian spies who try to spread disinformation and manipulate elections in the United States and in Africa, instead of collecting ads from them.
Facebook should encourage small newspapers standing with facts and militating for the truth, and fairness to be read more.
It is not the first time. Last year, Facebook blocked our account for almost four times and then reopened it after they realized they had made a mistake. By that time, we had lost money and opportunities.
We call on Facebook to rise up to our standards and protect freedom of speech rather than silence people like us.