An Iraq War veteran who lost both legs and a hand in combat says he’s prepared to sue Facebook if the social-media giant does not restore two pages it unpublished, including one he depends on to support his family.
In an interview with WND, Brian Kolfage charged Facebook had a political motive for shutting down a page for the Right Wing News site he manages and another that promotes his company, Military Grade Coffee, which donates 10 percent of its proceeds to wounded veterans.
“Everything I’ve been through – losing my legs – Facebook clearly thought I was going to be OK with this and go away,” he said.
“This is going to turn into a PR nightmare for them.”
As WND reported, Kolfage, who served in the U.S. Air Force, invested more than $300,000 in ads at Facebook’s urging to increase his reach to 3.5 million fans.
His pages were among 559 pages and 251 accounts that were deleted last Thursday by Facebook, which claimed the account holders were engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
As Heavy.com reported, some have claimed the sweeping action amounts to an attack on independent media, with pages representing both left- and right-wing political views. The Western Journal listed 209 of the pages that were unpublished.
Facebook said the violations included the creation of fake profiles and the spamming of Facebook groups.
The pages, according to Nathaniel Gleicher, the company’s head of cybersecurity policy, “have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
Koflage argued, however, that from January – when his traffic began to dramatically decline due to Facebook’s changes in its algorithm to combat “fake news” – until September, he was in regular email contact with a Facebook representative, Katy Harbath.
“We were really big on following the rules,” Kolfage said, explaining he took a proactive approach and worked with Harbarth to resolve any problems.
He insisted he was not “spamming,” using fake accounts or violating any other Facebook standards. And he points out his team reported any “bad actors” or evidence of attempted foreign influence.
Over those nine months, he said, he continually asked for a face-to-face meeting or a webinar with Facebook to discuss the dramatic drop in traffic. Finally, Harbath and her team agreed to a webinar a couple of weeks ago but then canceled at the last minute, according to Kolfage.
He said he has heard nothing directly from Facebook since then.
Harbath and the Facebook press office have not replied to a WND request for comment.
Kolfage said the only communication he has received since Thursday from Facebook is the standard post: “Your Page has been unpublished. It looks like recent activity on your Page doesn’t follow the Facebook Page Policies. If you think your Page was unpublished in error, you can appeal and we’ll take another look.”
He said many lawyers have come to him to spell out his options.
“We’re going to take legal action if we don’t get our pages back,” Kolfage said.
“It’s just going to turn into a sloppy mess for them. I think they’ve underestimated what they’re dealing with, attacking me, attacking conservatives in general, right before the elections,” he said.
Kolflage also said he has the support of strategists tied to the Trump administration who have told him they “have his back.”
On his personal Facebook page, which is still in operation, he wrote: “Never once did Facebook come to us to say there was any issue with Right Wing News or our other pages. Never. But they sure loved taking our money.”