Facebook and Google have repeatedly blocked American Heritage's content because they can't tell the difference between Russian trolls and a trusted, award-winning magazine.
Given the widespread ignorance about American history, one would think it helpful for American Heritage to disseminate trusted information about our nation's past to as many people as possible, as we have for 70 years.
But social media companies such as Facebook and Google make it difficult and expensive to disseminate this important information while at the same promoting frivolous and unvetted writing posted by amateurs.
Facebook forces us to pay to have our posts seen by more than a handful of people. But these paid "boosts" of our content are often blocked by lifeless algorithms or corporate reviewers who apparently have no idea what our articles are about.
For more information about censorship of American Heritage’s posts, see “No One Platform Should Have All That Power: The Ascendancy of Social Media and the Struggles of Independent Publications,” by Kevin Pollack of the Free Speech Project at Georgetown University.
But Facebook as rejected dozens of American Heritage posts for being too political in the last few months, including posts about essays by trusted authors such as:
- A post about the creation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, our first national park in the U.S.
- A post on Martin Luther King Day about an essay about King's legacy by the longtime head of the MLK archives, Clayborne Carson.
- An essay by one of the female journalists who successfully sued Time, Inc in 1970 recalling the blatant and humiliating discrimination they endured.
- Announcement of our monumental new issue on 230 years of presidential misconduct with writing from 30 leading historians.
- Susan Eisenhower on Ike's efforts to balance the Supreme Court by adding a justice of the opposing party.
- Doug Brinkley on the Boston Tea Party
- Our annual solicitation for donations on "Giving Tuesday" in 2020.
- Michael Beschloss on the first U.S. Presidents he remembered seeing and the dramatic surge in presidential authority that began in 1933.
- Sergei Khruschev's memories of JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis as experienced from the Soviet perspective.
- New evidence about Castro's possible advance knowledge of Oswald's plans to murder Pres. Kennedy.
- Larry Tye on the first look inside Sen. Joe McCarthy's secret files.
- Article on Barbara Rose Johns, the civil rights icon who when only 16 years old led a strike against school segregation in Farmville, Virginia in 1951
- Ray Locker on newly released files indicating Al Haig secretly worked to have Richard Nixon ousted as President.
- Our editorial lamenting vandalism of the statues of Marquis de Lafayette and other patriots by protestors.
- Announcement of the Winter 2021 issue with a cover essay on Tecumseh and Tippecanoe.
- How pandemics have changed American history by historian David Stewart.
Google is little better. We receive an email EVERY SINGLE DAY from Google saying we are in violation of their standards.
The ironic thing is the 500 or so emails Google has sent us do not say what the violation actually is or how to fix it – just that a page our website (out of 50,000 pages on our site) is in violation. But we have been receiving them since we published Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joe Ellis’s brilliant essay on Antonin Scalia’s argument on the 2nd Amendment case, DC v Heller.
To add injury to insult, over the last three years Facebook and Google have siphoned off virtually all website ad revenue from traditional publications such as American Heritage, leaving us with nothing but ugly intrusive ads that bring in pennies of revenue.
It is time to stop the predatory practices that are doing real damage to legitimate, trusted publications. We desperately need an electorate that has access to quality education, not just funny videos.
Stop blocking trusted content from getting to readers who want it and need it.