Facebook Errs in Connecting Epoch Media Group to BL

Facebook claims that it has removed accounts operated by the website BL that are linked to The Epoch Media Group. They are wrong in making such a connection. Facebook did not contact Epoch Media Group before stating there is a relationship between Epoch Media Group and the BL.

In a statement published on its website, Facebook says it has: “removed 610 accounts, 89 Facebook Pages, 156 Groups and 72 Instagram accounts that originated in Vietnam and the US and focused primarily on the US and some on Vietnam, Spanish and Chinese-speaking audiences globally. This activity primarily focused on The BL, a US-based media company, and its Pages, which were operated by individuals in the US and Vietnam.”

The statement goes on to say: “Although the people behind this network attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation linked this activity to Epoch Media Group, a US-based media organization, and individuals in Vietnam working on its behalf.”

The Epoch Media Group has no connection with the website BL.

The Epoch Times and The BL media companies are unaffiliated. The BL was founded by a former employee, and employs some of our former employees. However, that some of our former employees work for BL is not evidence of any connection between the two organizations.

The BL is a publication of Epoch Times Vietnam. As can be seen in archived pages of The Epoch Times website, Epoch Times Vietnam was no longer listed as part of Epoch Media Group in October 2018. (see languages in archived webpages of the English Epoch Times in September 2018 https://web.archive.org/web/20180902084659/https://www.theepochtimes.com/ and in October 2018 https://web.archive.org/web/20181002101428/https://www.theepochtimes.com/ )

In addition, as Congressman Jim Banks points out in a recent letter, actions by Facebook to punish The Epoch Media Group would not be in the best interests of the United States.

In July Facebook banned the Epoch Media Group from advertising on Facebook.

In a Nov. 15 letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Rep. Banks writes of Facebook’s decision, “Facebook has realized a Chinese Communist Party goal outside China’s homeland.” Later in the same letter, Banks writes, “By prohibiting The Epoch Times from advertising you have indirectly aided the Chinese Communist Party in their worldwide soft power competition with the United States.”

Banks notes that Facebook’s spokesperson “omitted any justification for the initial ban [on advertising].” Banks then asks the question, “[W]hich Facebook advertising policies did The Epoch Times violate before you closed their main account?”

Epoch Media Group calls upon Facebook to withdraw its claim that Epoch Media Group has been involved in coordinated action with BL and to withdraw its claim that BL has been working on behalf of Epoch Media Group.

Epoch Media Group also calls upon Facebook to lift its unjustified ban on Epoch Media Group advertising.

Stephen Gregory
Publisher, U.S. English-language editions

Follow Stephen on Twitter: @StephenEpoch
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