From Brian Zinchuk, editor and owner, Pipeline Online:

For Pipeline Online I sometimes “boost” posts on social media to get them out there, and seen by more people. This is specifically the business model most social media platforms follow. First they encourage you to create a page on their site, and to post there frequently. But as time goes on, they will show your posts to fewer and fewer of your followers, as few as 2 per cent, unless you specifically pay to have that post shown to your followers, or whatever audience you choose. This is why Facebook is worth so much.

For Pipeline Online, nearly all of my posts are news stories. Legitimate news stories. This morning I posted a story about Pierre Poilievre’s speech to the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show on June 1. The story was the verbatim transcript of the speech, and accompanying YouTube video of the complete speech I posted.

This is the story:

Poilievre speaks of the consequences of the relentless ideological drive to attack the energy sector

It was an important speech, and I took the time to give the reader the entire speech, so they can decide for themselves what they thought of it. It’s not often national leadership candidates and potential prime ministers make the effort to speak to the oil and gas sector in Saskatchewan.

Pierre Poilievre at the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show in Weyburn, June 1, 2022. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

When “boosting” a post, this is an ad. In my case, an ad to promote my news website. Well Meta now has a special ad category for political posts, with stringent criteria about who can say what, attribution, etc. That’s meant to restrict supposed manipulation of the population. But what it does in this case is restrict the freedom of the press in getting out legitimate news stories.

And Facebook has a “journalist registration” process, which is a vetting process to see if you are a journalist. If this sounds familiar, Germany enacted a similar process in the 1930s. I’m not saying that for hyperbole. I’m saying it because it’s true. You can understand why I am leery about such things, but I have little choice. The Meta journalist page says, “Any journalist or freelance contributor working in an editorial capacity for a news organization that is registered as a news Page on Facebook is encouraged to register as a journalist on Facebook using their personal Facebook account.

“Registered journalists will receive stronger security features that further protect their Facebook and Instagram accounts, and may be eligible for other benefits, such as Blue Badge verification.”

Similarly, you have to register your news page with Meta. It looks like if I don’t do that, my content will barely be seen.

So, when Pierre Poilievre speaks about gatekeepers, he’s not lying, nor making it up. This is very much the reality I, as a startup news site launched in October, must deal with on a daily basis.

This is the link to the story that Facebook would not allow me to boost. You might want to share it across all your social media.

– Brian Zinchuk,

Editor and owner,

Pipeline Online

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