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Here’s a real shocker: the tech industry actively marginalizes and throttles traffic to the firearm industry and the Second Amendment-friendly community in general. Over the last couple of months TTAG, Black Collar Arms (which I co-own), and I have been censored, throttled, rejected, and generally “shadow-banned.”

I tried to switch Black Collar over to a new email marketing service. Nope. They rejected us because of the industry we’re in. God forbid they should allow a licensed, regulated manufacturer to market a legal product to an opted-in email subscriber list.

There’s the full email thread, in case you’re curious (click the photo to enlarge it). As you can see, we were rejected because we fall into the nebulous, ill-defined category of “not acceptable content.”

Over at Meta-owned Instagram, here’s a screenshot of a message all three accounts (@guntruth, @blackcollararms, @callsignjeremy) received. The net result of this sort of shadow-banning or content throttling/restrictions on the accounts means fewer eyeballs.

With nobody seeing any of the posts on these accounts except for those who are already following the accounts, their growth potential is drastically stunted. Literally the only way a new person will find the account, other than searching for it directly (more on that later), is if a post is shared with them from someone who already follows it.

All three accounts — TTAG’s, Black Collar’s, and mine — semi-regularly receive warnings such as the one above. These aren’t posts attempting to sell anything. Not even on Black Collar’s account, but especially not at TTAG’s (we don’t sell anything) or my own personal account. Simply showing photos of firearms is enough to be censored.

Many firearm-related content creators have stopped using hashtags and stopped tagging other firearm-related companies in their photos. They’ve found that doing so triggers throttling and reduces the reach of their posts, as it helps Instagram identify them as gun-related content.

Here’s the full description of the policy. According to Instagram, simply posting a photograph of a firearm, a gun accessory, or ammunition constitutes showing or depicting fictional violence.

That’s right. To the delicate sensibilities of those who run the tech giants, a firearm photo is violence.

In case there’s any question about the specific post that was flagged for going against the guidelines, as the guidelines also mention accompanying text and hashtags, there it is in all its glory, above.

There were no hashtags on the post. As you can see, there was no attempt to sell gun stuff via Instagram. I’s just a “look at this cool stuff” post. As usual.

In addition to flagging the post for a content violation, Instagram also messaged to inform us that we could be getting more reach if we posted content that wasn’t all icky, violent, and horrible.

TTAG’s Facebook page rocketed to 398,000 followers at a steady, rapid clip over the course of about two years after we launched it. Then it slammed into a brick wall and…stopped. It has stayed perfectly steady at that number of followers for four to five years, then began to slowly shrink to today’s level of ~365,000 followers. Chalk that up to some natural attrition from previous followers combined with enough account censorship and throttling to prevent any potential new followers from learning about it.

Likewise, the TTAG, Black Collar Arms, and CallSignJeremy Instagram accounts have been almost perfectly stable in their follower counts for years.

If you’re on Instagram and you aren’t following us, this is a good time to change that. If you’re on Instagram or Facebook and you see posts that you like from firearm-related accounts that you follow, share them with your friends, to your Stories, etc.

And then there’s this . . .

Another way Instagram and other platforms censor or shadow-ban undesirables is by making their accounts extremely difficult to find. We saw this with “old Twitter” leading up to the last election and we see it now (yet again) with Google censoring Republican candidates from appearing in search results.

Many firearm-related accounts are nearly impossible to find in the search results. Whether you’re trying to find an account in the main search page or trying to tag an account in a photo, for many companies in the firearm industry or those that are just gun-related in general (like how my personal account is gun-related in the sense that most of the photos I post are of guns) they DO NOT appear in the search results unless you type their name in EXACTLY correctly down to the very last character.

Despite the platform’s search algorithms knowing perfectly well what you’re trying to type in based on various things like account size, popularity, and the types of accounts you already follow along with the likelihood that you’re, you know, searching for what you’re searching for, it will instead pre-populate dozens of suggestions of tiny, random, significantly less likely matches without ever showing you the one you’re actually looking for.

The only way to get to the account you want is to know its account name and type in EVERY letter and punctuation mark correctly. Or, as in this example of Smith & Wesson, it’ll display the real account — the one with all of the likes, followers, and traffic — at the very bottom of the list.

That, my friends, is a very long list of garbage accounts that are not Smith & Wesson’s actual account. Instagram knows damn well what I’m searching for because it’s, by far, the largest account on that entire list. It’s also “verified” with the blue check, plus it’s followed lots of people I follow and who also follow me, etc.

To be clear, these skewed search results happen even when you’re already following the account. Most of the time when I post one of my photos onto the @guntruth account and attempt to tag my @callsignjeremy account for photo credit, the account will not pop up in the selection bar until I type that final “y” in at the end.

All sorts of completely random crap comes up, but my account doesn’t appear anywhere on the displayed list at all until that last character is typed in. And @guntruth follows CallSignJeremy and vice-versa.

That’s some serious finger-on-the-scale BS.

But we aren’t surprised. It’s become a known part of dealing with social media and tech platforms of all kinds. We are part of a marginalized community that faces blatant, open discrimination by large, wealthy, ultra-powerful corporations and nothing is going to change that any time soon.

 

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46 COMMENTS

      • “Rumble?”

        No, lawsuits.

        The 2A isn’t a “second-hand right” as Justice Thomas once said, and it’s high time we force them to respect us. No “Separate but equal” bullshit.

        We need to use the history of the civil rights playbook and act accordingly. For *decades* Blacks were disrespected after their rights were granted, and it’s better now. We need to get cracking on this and use the Highest current court balance in our favor to do this… 🙁

        • Private companies are not required to protect constitutional rights, and cannot be sued for violating them, only the government can be sued. The only exception would be if the provider was deemed to be a “public forum” would this change.

        • DJ said “Rubble” — I was correcting him; the social media site he’s referring to is “Rumble.”

          I’m one of the biggest pedants on this forum. Proud of it, too.

    • It’s called Discrimination. And Discrimination has been walking hand in hand with Gun Control and backdoor Gun Control for Centuries…

      • Perhaps Black Collar et al can post numerous links to educate viewers about the diabolical History of Gun Control. And while that is going on have LKB send some certified mail to the bigoted tech defendants…like the certified mail the bigoted governor of NM is receiving.

  1. Maybe yer account should be called “fluffy bunnies”? We all get they same chit if we use fakebook or google. And we’re all targets…why hasn’t Rumble taken off???

      • Rumble is alive but not kicking. I look at it often but only gat channels. It’s greatest refuge is conservative folks kicked off/censored by other social media. Lot’s of ranting allowed🙄 Not EZ to subscribe to a channel unlike youtube on my phone!

  2. The vast majority of online communication are owned by anti-American entities. “We”, POTG, conservatives, holders of historic American values, have virtually zero national means of communicating with the public; billionaires are Leftists.

    Trump’s “Truth Social” is floundering.

    Are you tired of winning, yet?

    • “Trump’s “Truth Social” is floundering.

      Are you tired of winning, yet?”

      We need to demand our rights, Samuel, nothing less. A picture of an object isn’t ‘violence’, they just don’t like it. Fuck them, we demand our rights… 🙁

      • “We need to demand our rights, Samuel, nothing less.”

        But from whom? We have no constitutionally protected right to have our articles/comments published by any private company/individual. There is no right to have a store stock an item we want.

        In a different article published by PJ Media today, they are asking people to pay for content; content that will only be seen by people of like mind. Thus, the undecided Unicorns will not see our message. And, because we are no longer debating on/in the digital “town square”, we become essentially silent.

        In a battle of billionaires, “our side” is hopeless.

    • “Boycott all social media – problem solved!”

      No. “Separate but equal” was bullshit then, and it’s bullshit now… 🙁

        • “I have no idea what you’re trying to say.”

          I’ll spell it out for you in a way I hope you are capable of understanding –

          They say – “We don’t want gun content on YouTube, go start your own on Rumble or whatever. Just not here.”

          That’s no different than the famous Plessy v. Ferguson civil rights era court decision :

          ““Separate but equal” refers to the infamously racist decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) that allowed the use of segregation laws by states and local governments. The phrase “separate but equal” comes from part of the Court’s decision that argued separate rail cars for whites and African Americans were equal at least as required by the Equal Protection Clause.”

          https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/separate_but_equal

          No, we will not go somewhere else (Rumble), we will force YouTube will accommodate us and our point-of view. They are, after all, the ones that quite proudly claim to be the ones that are “Tolerant and accepting of others not like themselves.” They also claim that the internet is “Open to all points of view.”

          Let’s force them to eat their own dog food, so to speak.

          Is that clear enough for you? 🙁

  3. I suppose this would be more relevant to me if I actually spent my life on social media. I’ve always preferred to be IRL, LOL.

    TEHO.

    • “I suppose this would be more relevant to me if I actually spent my life on social media.”

      It’s relevant Haz, it impacts search results, and many, many other things. Sue their sorry asses and DEMAND the internet be “Open to all points of view” as we were promised in the first place.

      They fucking literally PROMISED the internet would be democratic, and it’s high time we force them to keep their word… 🙁

      • Democratic?

        What is there about the concepts of The ISP, CSS, DHTML, email, webservers, user logins, multi-factor authentication, cookies, media streaming, apps, or DNS that has ever been democratic? It’s not even mob rule.

        The Internet (world wide web) is and always was about a small number of people having control over everyone else. The fact that linking multiple computers together to get more power is not and never was something for the masses. That is the method used to coral masses. The cake to eat so no one sees the man behind the curtain.

        There is nothing private about email or text meesages.

        • “The Internet (world wide web) is and always was about a small number of people having control over everyone else.”

          Yes, while piously claiming how the internet was going to be democratic, allowing all points of view to be heard.

          Lets ram their promise down their fuck throats and make them choke on it, I say… 🙂

      • I didn’t say it’s not relevant.

        I said it would be more relevant to me if I actually spent any time on social media. I’ve never had any Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, MySpace, or any other similar platform accounts. I get that businesses and people who rely on them for viewership need fair play and I support the cause, but I’m not and will never be one of those viewers.

    • Paywall?
      Take a look at

      12ft.io

      “Show me a 10ft paywall, I’ll show you a 12ft ladder.”

      Not that it’s an answer to the ROOT issue, but it might help you get information you need at the time..

      • ““Show me a 10ft paywall, I’ll show you a 12ft ladder.””

        That’s the same mindset we need today in dealing those fascists… 🙂

  4. Facebook is not your friend. Have we learned NOTHING over the last few years? These people do not like the gun community. They infact hate us. You can continue to push but as they own it, you will fail. The ONLY way to fix this (if there is a fix) is by a rich guy buying it. Truth Social is locked in because Apple and certain others have complete control of the gates. Trump purposely set it up that way. YouTube is no different.

    If your going to operate using these things then it is absolutely important that you understand the enemy YOUR sleeping with.

    The same thing applies to the employer that signs your pay checks and the people that you vote for. Even the ISP you use and the company that made the computer/phone you bought.

    • “These people do not like the gun community. They infact hate us. You can continue to push but as they own it, you will fail.”

      It’s open to the public, and we must force them to accommodate us, whether they like us or not.

      Gun owners today are the Blacks of the 1950s, and it’s high time we acted like it. We will not ride “In the back of the bus” any more, we’ll ride up front with everybody else.

      They love to claim they all about “Tolerance and acceptance of others not like themselves”, we need to throw that right back in their fuck faces and DEMAND equal treatment… 🙁

      • “It’s open to the public, and we must force them to accommodate us, whether they like us or not.”

        That’s exactly what they say about us.

        All I’m saying is you need to understand who and what your dealing with.

        • “All I’m saying is you need to understand who and what your dealing with.”

          That’s the same exact excuse they used back then. “Don’t rock the boat, Blacks. You have your ‘rights’, just don’t exercise them”.

          Fuck them. We’re here, we’re queer (so to speak), and look how queers get treated today.

          Gun owners are the new gays, and we should act like it… 🙂

      • Being open to the public and being a public forum are two different things. For example, just because Macy’s is open to the public does not mean that you can just wander in and hold an anti-abortion really in the middle of the store without Macy’s permission. These providers are the same; they are still considered to be private companies and can control their content any way they please.

  5. Advertise transitioning hormones and watch big tech go nuts to support you. Fncking ridiculous.

  6. I have a running battle on youtube. I keep getting a message about some post that did not meet cyber bullying ”community guidelines” and wants me to repent by clicking “got it”. I refuse without more details that are not forthcoming. I am a paying customer and in reality without a specific charge refuse to agree to something nebulous that I might otherwise accept. In reality google is the cyber bully and I tell them so! The good part is this generally only happens once a day! The other possibility is I am responding to a low level bot that doesn’t know how to respond.

  7. Know any superhackers over on the darkweb? Get them to trash instagrams servers and others with some ai enabled malware, aggressively and frequently. Put them all out of business. 2 can play this game.

    • That’s not a bad idea, in a sense. The Leftist-Fascists are all about “making people uncomfortable” they want to change, we need to do the same to them… 🙂

      • It’s about making those “others” feel shame for their beliefs and atone by converting. Otherwise they’ll get cancelled.

  8. The whole New Mexico governor ‘Ker-fluffle’ has actually left me pleasantly surprised, did you notice the new tone when they have been reporting on it?

    There’s no longer an argument the 2A is a civil right, and not even the governor can suspend it at will.

    That’s *huge*, people, compared to just a few years ago. ‘Bruen’ is having an impact. It’s no longer an argument that we have a right to carry a gun (to most people, gov. ‘hair-gell’ in California excepted).

    Now’s the time to ride that wave and sue those fuckers into respecting our free speech… 🙂

  9. What ever became of the saying,

    “Although I may disagree with everything you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it.”?

    • “What ever became of the saying,…”

      It’s time to force them to keep that promise, with lawsuits, if necessary… 🙂

  10. “We try not to recommend content or accounts that show or depict fictional violence.”
    All of my social media feeds are positively loaded with ads for violent video games and/or movies.
    Aren’t these all fictional violence?
    What utter BS this is.

    • No kidding, I watched John Wick the other day. Any ads for that would CERTAINLY fall within such a nebulous policy.

      • “No kidding, I watched John Wick the other day.”

        Exactly. That’s strong lawsuit ammunition, right *there*. If they actually were against guns, the Hollywood action movie and video game industry wouldn’t exist.

        But. They. DO.

        Sue the cocksuckers into respecting us. It worked for Blacks in the 50s, it will work for us.

        Guns are today’s civil rights issue, it’s time we treated it as such.

        Identify yourself as a civil rights activist, because we damn sure need to be… 🙁

    • {Instagram}

      “they’ve got your back man, be thankful.”

      By painting a target on it? 🙂

  11. For email marketing, try MailChimp. I’m in the firearm industry and they do not care so long as the emails are solicited (e.g. they are aggregated by willing people who signed up for them).

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