Is Zuckerburg Mad at Ev?
There must be something going on because Facebook is not playing nice
I must admit I ignored the complaints at first. You have to understand I was testing a theory. I had the idea a few months ago that social media was basically worthless, and one could still grow as a writer if we didn’t post links to our work on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.
I tried the experiment for two months, and while I did experience the best two earning months of my writing career, it was inconclusive whether it was my social media diet that caused the virality.
Fast-forward to yesterday. My friend Mike Hancock and I started a new Medium publication and a Facebook group called The Personal Essayist. The group is a mishmash of essay writers who are also authors, editors, and publishers, and I wanted them to be able to share links to their best work so the group could appreciate it.
As a test, I posted a link to one of my own essays, in the hopes that I could get a whole new group of creatives to appreciate my work.
But, when I tried to post the link, I got an error message saying my post did not meet community standards and was SPAM. Wow, all the posts by my writer friends who have not been able to submit their Medium links on Facebook came back and slapped me in the face!
It made me think of the problem I had been having on Instagram. For the past few days, I had not been able to “like” posts or follow accounts and had been getting an error message saying what I was doing was against community standards.
I had no idea what was going on until I looked at my IG profile and realized that my website link was going to my Medium profile. As a test, I changed the link to my newsletter, and guess what?
No more error messages.
What the hell was going on?
Was There a Social Media Spat?
I sent out a message to my friends on Facebook, but they were as confused as I. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason. Some could post three Medium links per day before an error; others, like me, couldn’t post any.
I sent an email to Facebook and Medium but heard nothing back. Everyone else had been emailing as well.
Then my friend Steve B Howard commented this:
“I think FB owns IG now. Maybe there is something going on behind the scenes between Ev and Zuck.”
Wow, I hadn’t thought of that!
The first thing that popped in my head was that Zuckerberg was a conservative, through-and-through, and our friend Ev Williams is about as liberal as you can get, but dismissed the idea because I couldn’t believe people would get that upset over politics on Facebook, right?
I mean, who loses their mind in the comments section of a meme about fascism?
Asking for a friend.
Google was a treasure-trove of information. The first thing I found was a story by The Economic Times that told the story of Biz Stone and Ev Williams meeting with Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto. When Zuck asked for the number he could acquire Twitter for, Ev told him $500 million. Biz said:
“Taking that meeting was a rookie mistake. If you’re not serious about selling, you shouldn’t take an acquisition meeting, because once an offer is made, you have an obligation to present it to the shareholders for serious consideration. There are three reasons an entrepreneur sells his company, and none of them applied to us.”
Zuckerberg could still be a little upset that he didn’t get Twitter and that his offer was a huge reason why the company’s value shot up.
Then I saw story after story about this awkward meeting between Biz, Ev, and Mark back in 2008 and thought maybe I was on to something. But, could Zuckerburg still be mad after all these years? Would he hold a grudge that long?
Maybe it was a combination of Ev being a lefty, the acquisition, and the shade that Williams throws at Zuckerberg about the fake news and misinformation problem on Facebook?
Whatever the reason for the angst between them, why does it have to affect the members of Medium that use Facebook to promote their work?
Is it even possible that Zuckerberg could be purposely blocking users from posting Medium links because of the bad blood with Williams?
While this article was satire, it does bring up some interesting thoughts.
There are a lot of us who love Medium that use Facebook to promote our stories to friends and family. Some of us have writer pages and writer groups where we post both our own and our group members’ links and feel lost because most of our external traffic on Medium comes from Facebook.
We don’t know why Facebook is calling our links from Medium SPAM, but it is hurting us, and everything we have tried to remedy the situation has failed.
There is some hope, though.
I went a few minutes ago and posted a link on both my feed and in my group, and they worked! Maybe the email I sent to Facebook helped, or the combined effort of everyone made a difference?
Are you still having issues with Facebook and Medium?
Guess what? I spoke too soon. It’s back again!
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