We have had a long experience with Facebook, particularly with harrassment.
Bettina Network suspended managing estate sales because of the harrassment we received which became quite threatening and will keep that suspension until we can figure out how to deal with the kind of things that happened.
Our harrassment came in the form of Alan Davidson with Chestnut Hill Estate Sales in the Greater Boston area. They claim to be related to Chestnut Hill Realty – which manages many buildings around the Greater Boston area so Mr. Davidson and Chestnut Hill Estate Sales have a kind of protective cloud around them allowing him – as a member of their family (which is his claim) – to engage in foul business practices making it difficult for others to survive. Or at best to survive in the midst of his incredibly foul business practices, especially against those he considers his competition.
We knew Mr. Davidson, having been to several of his estate sales and had conversations with him as a friend of a friend.
When we had an estate sale we would find people arriving to attempt to destroy what we were doing and just cause a general mess. We began to recognize the people, who actually identified themselves as being connected with Mr. Davidson.
At one point we went to a sale managed by a very new (at the time) estate sale company – Consignworks. That same weekend we went to another sale managed by an estate sale company – which seemed new since we had not heard the name before – which called itself “Consign….” and discovered it was Mr. Davidson trying to muddy the waters and cause problems for Consignworks. Consignworks survived and has grown into a substantial part of the estate sale community.
We thought Mr. Davidson was a friend – more acquaintance – but he was related to people in the business we had known for a couple decades – the Shermans. Mr. Davidson identified himself as the son of Mr. Sherman’s then girl friend and subsequently his wife – so we considered him a friend.
On our Facebook page we embraced Mr. Davidson as a “friend”. Whereupon Mr. Davidson started putting some of the foulest posts on our Facebook Wall which were extremely racist – the language was foul – and the things he said were unbelievable.
Upon talking about this with others, we discovered he was doing the same thing, even to some of those who worked closely with him. It was shocking.
We contacted Facebook, referred them to the posts which were so foul they should not have been published anyplace, and asked them to please eliminate Mr. Davidson’s account. We also gave Facebook the names of others who were experiencing the same thing.
Facebook’s response was they could do nothing. The only recourse we had was to block Mr. Davidson from our account. We asked about the others who were at their wits end about the same thing. Facebook acknowledged there had been other complaints, but their policy was such the only thing they could do was to advise whoever complained to block Mr. Davidson’s from their accounts. When I pointed out to them that when someone threatens you their right to free speech stops, which gave Facebook the right to act – they were clearly more interested in keeping eveeryone than keeping everyone safe and the harrassment eliminated.
The posts in question were complete with some of the foulest language I had ever seen published by any kind of substantial public publication.
That happened several years ago.
Having tried to fend off Mr. Davidson’s attacks, we could not so instead of jeopardizing those who came to us to manage their estate sales, we decided to suspend that part of our business until we could find a way to address it.
It was clearly a very successful way for Mr. Davidson to eliminate an African American business. His friends must have been proud. What happened is something that used to happen in Mississippi or Alabama or any of the other states which specialize in bigotry at its worse and need to keep blacks out of the corporate business world.
It is way past the time for Facebook to take on its responsibility to make sure those who use its services are not open to being trashed and their lives being drastically changed while Facebook continues on down the road to incredible amounts of money earned at other people’s expense because they do not conduct their business with good business ethics, a good character and accepting the responsibility of making sure they are not invaded by such people. Russia may be what caused this discussion to become so public, but there are also homegrown people who make the lives of many on Facebook miserable. They can either not use the service or suffer from Facebook’s abdication of its basic responsibility.
Our experiences as a minority owned business have been legion and unbelievable. When one talks about the very limited number of minority-owned businesses in existence one needs to talk about and realize the forces that constantly do everything they can to limit and destroy such businesses. They are usually quite successful.
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