New Release: Demon for President!

Owen Tyme

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Straight from Owen Tyme's keyboard

Shame On Me, I Guess, Part III

June 15, 2024 — Owen Tyme

Despite my earlier posts regarding how much I dislike the social-media-platform-that-shall-remain-nameless, I got used to using it as an additional platform on which to toot my horn and gain some fans.

I had hoped to reach a larger audience, but now regret my choice to use that website for more than just an experiment.

What Happened?

I released Demon for President!, which is a political satire piece, in which a demon runs for President of the United States.

I posted about it a few times via a science-fiction and fantasy group that I'd taken a liking to, which requires manual approval for all posts before they're shown publicly. The group admin had no issue with what I was doing and approved. He often hit like on my posts in the past, as well. Not that one, but political satire isn't everyone's cup of tea, so fair enough.

Then yesterday, the social-media-platform-that-shall-remain-nameless pulled every last one of my posts to the group over a supposed rule violation for "fraud and deceptive practices". The group admin was absolutely mystified by this, because he knew as well as I that I wasn't deceiving anyone. Any human being that read my posts would have come to the same conclusion.

The software (probably AI) that the social-media-platform-that-shall-remain-nameless uses to moderate literally cannot tell the difference between language related to selling a political satire book and an attempt to get people to vote for a non-existent demon that's running for president.

The absurdity of this is actually quite astonishing to me.

Based on the message that was shoved in my face over this unjust enforcement of their rules, they literally claim the rules for their website are not just enforced by software, but that no human being was even involved in checking the software's work. I have no option to appeal and no opportunity to seek for this to be made right.

In short, they must have fired their human moderators and replaced them with software as a result of their worship of the almighty dollar and desire to cut costs all the way to the bone.

Yes, companies exist to make a profit, but long-term profits have never been found by tying up the end-user, so they can't resist (monopolistic practices), dropping drawers and squatting down on the end user's face (disrespecting the user), followed by defecating into their screaming, open mouth (expecting them to take whatever is dished out, no matter how vile).

That is a disgusting state of affairs, which can only lead to further injustice and it's simply bad business. Period.

It's also a matter of squashing people's right to voice themselves. Yeah, I know, the first amendment doesn't apply, because they own the website, not the government, but squashing people's rights has never been a good business decision in the long run, because the users will leave like rats bailing from a sinking ship, sooner or later.

What Now?

I will never use the social-media-platform-that-shall-remain-nameless again, not even for an experiment. My page there will remain up for another month or two, just to give the people I'm leaving behind a chance to see what happened and point the way to greener pastures.

I doubt they'll follow, but I'll at least have the satisfaction of knowing I've done the right thing by trying to raise the warning flag.

Alternatives?

Mastodon is a wonderful social media platform that I can't praise enough, which mimics the interface of the social-media-platform-formerly-known-as-twitter. I've been welcomed by the people that use it, the platform itself treats me with respect and the rules for the server I use are really quite short and straight to the point. I've been using it about the same amount of time as the social-media-platform-that-shall-remain-nameless, but I've had far more success there.

Here's my Mastodon profile, in case you're interested.

I've also recently discovered Lemmy, which is a decentralized forum system that operates similar to Mastodon, based on the same underlying technology (ActivityPub). I'll probably be using this in the future, but I've also been considering using Reddit, because it has a larger user-base.

Pulling Back the Curtain...

The social-media-platform-that-shall-remain-nameless is Facebook, by the way. It's been said before and I'm sure it will be said many times more, but the company isn't worth trusting. Their business practices are atrocious and the only reason they haven't failed is because they're so huge, with so many users, no one can stand the idea of leaving their family and friends behind, even though they'd like to stop using that website.

My suggestion: it's time to walk away. Sometimes, you just have to cross the bridge and then burn it down before the vicious wolves nipping at your heels can reach you.

I should have stuck to my original opinion and never bothered with Facebook, but that's where the people are and I was just trying to promote my novels.

From now on, I'll remember this lesson and hopefully this article series won't get a fourth entry, because that really would be embarrassing for me. "Shame on me", indeed.

What I'll be Doing

Facebook effectively tried to censor one of my books, so would anyone be interested in reading "The Novel Facebook Tried to Silence!" Somehow, I suspect that's a line that will sell books...

Evidence and What I Left Behind

I wish I had screenshots of the posts Facebook removed, but I've got nothing left of most of them due to Facebook wiping them out.

Facebook wiped out at least three promotional group posts (once again, I remind you that these required admin approval to be shown) related to Demon for President!. First was a short post with just the cover and a description of the book, mostly word for word copied from the back cover text, along with the book's cover

Second, I used my ad flyer, which shows off the Republican and Democrat personas of the villain of the book, along with I believe more or less the same text as the previous post. I may have added a little blurb to describe the series, but I'm not sure.

Last of all was a post offering free Ebooks in exchange for honest reviews. It was only tangentially related to Demon for President!, in that it displayed the cover of it.

There was no act of fraud and no intent to deceive anyone in any of this, despite Facebook's unjust claims of such. I was just trying to promote my most recently published novel and get some much-needed reviews, as any self-published author would.

Post #1: Reconstructed Book Announcement

This is as close as I can get to the original text of the post I made announcing the publishing of Demon for President!. I can't guarantee the text is 100% as it was, but this should be quite close, because most of it was a copy+paste from the same sources and it was just a re-arranged and expanded version of one of my Mastodon posts:

Book #3 of Ashen Blades, Demon for President! is now available for pre-order, coming to online bookstores June 10, 2024: https://owentyme.us/books/ashen-blades/demon-for-president.html

When a snake demon in an expensive, tailored suit takes an irreverent stab at American Presidential politics, the Hunter is literally forced to take a stab at him, to save the USA from getting a Demon for President!

The Hunter’s demonic arch-nemesis, Vogerath, returns to Earth once more, but this time, he’s running for President of the United States, on the 2024 ballot! Worse yet, the demon’s unique power to be in multiple places at once allows him to convincingly pretend to be identical twins, running as both a Republican and Democrat!

The other candidates all drop out of the race under mysterious circumstances and with his best competition being himself, he’s practically assured a win!

Soon, the American people are lapping up the snake-in-a-suit’s every word as if it were ambrosia, calling out his name at every turn, magically charmed to believe he’s the best thing since sliced bread, despite the checkered, criminal history of his “family.”

Hard pressed to get rid of him, the half-demon Hunter and her allies kill him repeatedly, but he pops back up like a bad weed, making all of his appointments on time, photogenically kissing babies, cutting the ribbons of stores and donating laundered blood-money to charitable causes.

Will the hunter manage to end the demon’s presidential campaign before election day? If she doesn’t, the USA may just get a Demon for President! Buy this book today and find out for yourself!

Post #2: The Flyer

Days later, I finally came up with a proper flyer for the book, along with some ad text I was happy with. I can't recall the text for this one, but I think it was nearly identical to the previous post, because I was rather tired at the time and in a lazy mood. I think it was posted on June 8th, but it might have been the 9th. I'm not sure.

Post #3: The Review Request

I'm lucky I saved the text of the last of my censored posts, because I intended to use it elsewhere (and yes, that giveaway code is still good):

FREE Ebooks! Use the code 'P6YFQ' via this link to get free Ebooks of my novels: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/OwenTyme

If you use this code, then please write an honest review as soon as you've read each book. The truth is I really do need the reviews, just to prime the pump a bit. After all, almost no one will take a chance on a book with no reviews.

Please post reviews to the sites you usually buy from, because most online book sellers, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble, will allow you to post a review without making a purchase.

All of my currently published novels are available to you, including Troll Song, Forgotten Legends, The Third Wish, She Hunts Demons, She Goes to War and Demon for President! My always free short stories are also available, including Emergent Consequences and She Goes to Summer Camp. So, yes, my entire catalog of works are free to you through June 30th, after which the code expires.

Here are some examples of sites on which you can write reviews (each link should point to a list of my published works):

https://www.amazon.com/s?i=digital-text&rh=p_27%3AOwen+Tyme&s=relevancerank&text=Owen+Tyme

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/45452178.Owen_Tyme

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Owen%20Tyme%22

https://fable.co/author/owen-tyme

What the Admin Posted

You can find the post from the admin of the group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/scififan/permalink/8044035455647552/

And because I want as much of the evidence out of Facebook's hands as possible, here's a screenshot of the message, including the screenshot he posted and was confused over, along with my comment:

Note the other comment: another witness of the awful over-reaching of the rules, along with willful ignorance of other infractions.

To summarize: no one asked for this unjust enforcement of rules, no one is happy about it and even the admin of the group is mystified about why it happened!

What the Admin Asked Me

The admin also reached out to me. Here's a screenshot of our brief conversation on the matter:

At the time he reached out, I was only aware my review request post had been taken down (I suspected it was because of the use of "we" in the image), but after answering him I dug a little deeper, finding three or possibly four of my posts were gone, all related to the political satire piece, so I think that was the real cause.

Post #4: The Goodbye Post From My Facebook Page

Finally, here's a quote from my last post on Facebook, for the sake of preservation, in case it gets censored just like my group posts about my novel:

I'm done with this social media platform. I don't like the way they enforce their rules (all done with software, with no human to review what the software does, plus no one can appeal to a human over unjust rule enforcement by that software).

They've unjustly applied their rules to me on multiple occasions, sometimes due to over-zealous software that can't grasp the subtleties of human communication and other times because of a literal bug in their software that got me slapped with rule violations for an ad I didn't even run, the form for which was auto-populated by their own software.

Yes, I'm serious: the software filled the form and then punished me for the content of it, before I could even change it. I'm tired of how broken this website is. Period. So, I won't be posting here anymore. I'll leave the page up for now, to get the word out, but when I'm ready (probably in a month or two), it will come down.

If you still want to follow my work on a social media platform, try my Mastodon profile, which is where I'm most active: https://mastodon.social/@OwenTyme

Alternatively, you can bookmark my website and visit from time to time, because I update it often: https://owentyme.us My website includes a blog you can subscribe to with an RSS reader: https://owentyme.us/blog/

Finally, if you just want to chat with me, my E-mail address has always been public: owentyme@owentyme.us

Good luck to all of you that are staying behind. I'm sure the rule-enforcement bots are coming for you next, since we apparently live in a dystopian future ruled by robots.

Final Thoughts

Sorry this post is far longer than my typical blog entry, but I wanted to both express my feelings and set aside some evidence of Facebook's shameful behavior for the sake of warning others.

I hope you learned something of value from my experience, because perhaps that would make it all worth it.

Tags: social-media, social-media-platform-that-shall-remain-nameless

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