Facebook Throttles, Reddit Censors References to Mike Baron Comic "Thin Blue Line"

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Thin Blue Line Censored

The advent of crowdfunded comics has opened a door that had been closed to so many for so long. Now, if you wanted to make a comic, you had an opportunity -- a real opportunity -- especially if you had the talent to prove to a prospective audience that you deserved the shot.

But having a crowdfunding campaign, either on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, isn't the end of the matter. You have to market the thing so that your prospective audience knows the project exists. This is an arena where the creator runs the risk of having yet another door slammed in the face.

That's the situation encountered by Bleeding Fool publisher, Chris Braly, who is the manager behind the campaign THIN BLUE LINE by Mike Baron, Joe Arnold, and Jeff Slemons. The book is about a female police officer who is on duty when her city is in the throes of nationwide riots and violence. And while the campaign has been met with great success (the Kickstarter campaign is over $37,000 and the Indiegogo over $59,000 at this writing), Braly knows it never hurts to continue marketing.

One of his selected avenues was to take out a Facebook ad. However, after filling out all the forms, the ad was rejected by Facebook, citing a policy on ads about "social issue, electoral or politics."

Advertisers take note: it's a bad idea to try to influence public opinion under Facebook's policies. Braly can (and is) taking the offered route for confirming his identity and getting the proper permissions to move forward with his ad -- a process Facebook utilizes involving snail mail. That's right, rather than an instant message supported by their own platform that already had identity validation and verification built in, Facebook forces people to use the United States Post Office to apply for these ads, perhaps in an attempt to discourage the content or to slow the message from reaching the public. (Insert your favorite "Why not both?" meme here.)

While Facebook's method puts a chilling effect on speech, Reddit's approach is more insidious: they simply delete the message and block the poster. After posting on one Reddit forum about the book, Braly cross-posted to the subreddit dedicated to comics. Shortly thereafter, a forum moderator using the identity SickBurnBro, posted the following:

It's interesting to note that, while this has the appearance of a form rejection, it's difficult to imagine a form that would have "Misinformation and racism" coexisting on the same bullet point.

Since SickBurnBro offered the opportunity to dispute the removal, Braly messaged back asking for a clarification on the misinformation and racism claims. He was rewarded with a 28-day suspension, during which time he could not even talk to the moderators, let alone the subreddit users.

Curious ourselves about these claims from the Reddit moderator, Critical Blast entered the subreddit as 'Even-Sympathy-657' and posed the question, which did get a response from the moderator.

Obviously the /r/comics subreddit isn't for comics fans, just fans of which the moderator approves, taking a fascist approach to insulate themselves from offensive ideas -- like a Latina single mom police officer doing her job.

To further delve inot the controversy, Critical Blast sat down with Braly for a video livestream, discussing both encounters as well as some of the responses from prospective publishers who were given early looks at the THIN BLUE LINE script. That video is viewable below.