Saturday, January 30, 2010

Why did BC's biggest Facebook group - NO BC HST - suddenly disappear completely on Friday January 29?

UPDATE 3 6:25 p.m. Sunday January 31 - NO BC HST has suddenly and miraculously reappeared online, with all 130,000 plus members intact!

I have no idea what happened - I have no word from Facebook authorities or anyone else - but I intend to find out.

Thank you sincerely for all the expressions of support and concern - it really means a lot to me.

The group Axe The BC Gas Tax, however, is still missing.

Meanwhile, it's time for a stiff drink!

UPDATE 2 January 31 : A supporter has re-registered the name NO BC HST as a Facebook group and offered to turn it over to me - but how can that have happened? I am determined to find out how a 130,000 plus member Facebook group can disappear without my knowledge or involvement.

UPDATE 1 January 30: Another large Facebook group I created in 2008 - Axe The BC Gas Tax - has also completely disappeared! I have again filed an inquiry with Facebook but this is looking more ominous indeed.

On Friday afternoon
NO BC HST - the biggest Facebook group in British Columbia, with over 130,000 members - suddenly disappeared without a trace!

It's a total mystery and to date inquiries to Facebook have not explained what has happened. Links to the group on Facebook have also disappeared and external links like the one above only lead to a Facebook home page.

The page was "unavailable" once before for about a day due to Facebook "maintenance" but then reappeared without further explanation.

I can only hope there is a technical problem at Facebook which could explain this - and I will keep you posted here, on my Facebook page and through Twitter.

But a 130,000 member HST protest group can't simply be made to disappear - can it?

.

51 comments:

Ron said...

Bill,

No problem.

It will re-appear after the 2010 Games.

It's just a matter of 2010 Security, Im sure.

Kim said...

It's still gone Bill. Have they found a way to shut down dissent? The Ontario site is still there.

Anonymous said...

A cached version is still available (albiet useless). The site was apparently taken down on 29 Jan 2010 11:29:47 GMT.

Both the State University of New York and the University of Florida, among others, had their Facebook pages removed under similar circumstances.

A guy by the name of Brad J. Ward from BlueFuego.com, with his inside contacts at Facebook, assisted both universities in restoring their pages.

http://bluefuego.com/

You might want to try that avenue as Facebook customer assistance is basically useless.

Anonymous said...

Some one is, desperately afraid, their many sins will come to light, and disgrace them, in front of the entire world. The, Olympic Games, are very near, and images, must be preserved, very much the same as the RCMP, tries to preserve their image. There is nothing beneath their dignity. They have to resort to dirty tactics, because the truth, at times, would put them in prison.

Skookum1 said...

Further to the idea that Olympics-era cyber-subterfuge is afoot, another Wikipedia editor just this evening (while I was commenting about the disappearance of NO BC HST on the FB anti-prorogation page) caught some blankings of critical information and reversed them:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=2010_Winter_Olympics&action=historysubmit&diff=341012223&oldid=341009013

Scroll down to the green-highlighted sections as to what had been removed. Note also the red changes in the yellow sections, which rendered the links they're in in workable...but also left a "footprint", sort of a "I was here"....does "Daws" mean anything to anyone here.

I've raised the question of whether the IP user who made those deletions is an operative of a BC government agency/office, political party, consulting/p.r. company or some such similar, no replies yet. There IS a blacklist of government/corporate-related IP addresses; this appears to have been done by a proxy server, i.e. behind a mask.....

Ed Seedhouse said...

From the purely technical perspective, I am sure that making a page or pages disappear would be quite easy for anyone with administrative privileges.

For those without such privileges it would be surprising if any talented hacker could not do it fairly easily if they really wanted to. I don't think Facebook is known for it's ironclad security.

Anonymous said...

When you live in a Vichy puppet state like British Columbia you better get used to the state-security-organs putting the boots to you.

During France's Vichy/Nazi occupation (1940-44) the "Malice" put the boots to lots of French citizens.

Eventually they turned their victims over to to the Gestapo who sent them to the camps.

Remember Bill . . . "WORK WILL SET YOU FREE"

The GREAT SATAN

tono-bungay said...

I suspect that somebody guessed the password to Tieleman's account and logged in and deleted them.

Stacy said...

Scary. I've posted the link to your blogpost on my facebook.

SharingIsGood said...

Tono-bungay wrote:

"I suspect that somebody guessed the password to Tieleman's account and logged in and deleted them."

It may be far more sinnister than guessing the password, Tono-bungay, we must remember that Bill had his office broken into a few years back. There is every possibility somebody has "owned" that password for years. With the Olympics and the world's lens focused upon us, and Prime Minister Harper's and Premier Campbell's approval ratings at all time lows, some deletions of networks that counter various nefarious people's plots do seem within the scope of the plausible.

kootcoot said...

Welcome to China!

Didn't you know that Gordo and Stevie and all others haven't been going to China to discuss trade. We are the new "province" of China that Taiwan is unwilling to be, don't you know?

Maybe Mr. Wu (the VPD recent victim) was threatening to tell stuff he knew. Okay, I'm reaching now.

Chris said...

My guess is your account was hacked. Time to choose a better password.

Anonymous said...

from Naomi Wolf's 10 steps to Fascism:

5. Harass citizens' groups
7. Target key individuals
8. Control the press
10. Suspend the rule of law

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/apr/24/usa.comment


It couldn't happen here. We're different.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the Facebook Page on a missing mother also disappeared on Friday and it's making the news headlines.

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/414860_facebook31.html

Remember though that Facebook is free. The old adage "you get what you pay for" comes to mind, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

If FB itself deleted it, they send you an e-mail, stating only violation of whatever their policy is, so no explanation. Even if a 'complaint' about your FB group was made by whoever, they send an e-mail.

So this looks like hacking

Anonymous said...

theres no doubt it was hacked, but it was a targeted attack. was it political? well when 2 different groups disappear at the same time both about crappy government policy you know theres a connection. im sure FB will get to the bottom of it but like someone already said it will be after the olympics.

Anonymous said...

We all know who did it.

We need to send the message out to the community at large and try to trace the proof. In other words hire a hacker to dig and get as many volunteers on the job as possible - there is ALWAYS a digital trail.

I hope by now the GS/24hrs and for what its worth the cbc and MSM have been contacted.

This is clearly an act of suppression of free speech that expressed ideas in opposition to our sitting governments. Getting to the bottom of this is as important as it gets in being Canadian.

Anonymous said...

The NO BC HST page is back now. Yay! 130k members too.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the new Deputy AG will look into this.

Ivan H said...

OMG - Has anyone seen my wallet? I know there are hundreds of thousands of pickpockets in town for the Olympics but I didn't think they would pick on poor me.

------------------------------------------------------

Footnote 1 : My car keys are also missing! This can't be happening. Could it be Armageddon?

------------------------------------------------------

Footnote 2 : Someone has lent me $20 and is driving me to the laundromat but I've already called the police so we'll catch whoever is responsible for this terrible deed.

------------------------------------------------------

Footnote 3 : Oh, I just know you're going to laugh as hard as I did. Silly me, I forgot I changed pants after I got mustard all over them from the hot dog. That's why I was going to the laundromat in the first place. I don't know how it slipped my mind but thank God this nightmare is over. I'm still looking into why my cat didn't alert me and I will ask her for an explanation. Is everyone okay? I hope nobody was hurt during this ordeal.

Anonymous said...

Someone got the scare in them and realized they were going to get caught.

Keep the pressure on.

Anonymous said...

Holy conspiracy theorists convention batman. So was it Colonel Mustard in the billiard room with a wi-fi connection ? or was it the great Gordinator himself ? You loser’s need to get a life and get out more.

Bill Tieleman said...

Nice to see the boys and girls at PAB - or simply well-intentioned volunteers - are still at work on a Sunday!

Let's be clear - the largest Facebook group in BC - which opposes the central economic policy of the BC Liberal government - the Harmonized Sales Tax or HST - suddenly disappears.

So too does another large group opposed to the BC government's carbon or gas tax.

And you expect people to think it was some kind of fluky accident?

Sorry but that seems highly unlikely.

Now get back to work - we're paying you!

NeoDude said...

That was cute Ivan. Never sure with Bill whether his paranoia is real or contrived. I'm sure there is some degree of cyber espionage going on and I wouldn't put it past this government to do so at arm's length but what's to be gained by hacking the NO-HST page? Or even sillier, the Axe The Tax page. It's more a case of who cares? What a waste of blog space. Bill, you really need to get a life.

Anonymous said...

The PAB theme seems to be "Get a life ..." which is so strange, coming from a well-funded government department which is determined to impose penalties upon any of its citizen-employers who are concerned for the future.

Timing is extremely suspect on these disappearances from Bill's Facebook project.

Bet they're hiring new PAB staff to stop all the comments and/or petitions opposing Gordo's reign during the Olympic Games.

Yep, having a few Internet problems over at my place too.

BC Mary
(couldn't sign in)
.

Anonymous said...

Things that just happen.

I use MSN Hotmail
It works pretty well most of the time.

But, if I foolishly open my MS Office programs while on-line, my MSN homepage gets redirected to Sympatico - which is owned by Bell Media.

Is it a minor hack?
Or corporate mind-control?

Anonymous said...

Bill, for the sake of giving a platform the many British Columbians who are appalled at having our tax dollars funneled into the BC Liberals private propaganda wing (AKA PAB) when cuts are being made to essential services that actually benefit the citizens of this province, would you consider starting a third Facebook page called something like "British Columbians Opposed to Having their Tax Dollars Used Support the Public Affairs Bureau"? I am really tired of supporting these shills.

Anonymous said...

Wow this one is attracting a lot of vitriol from the neo-cons.

It is so odd that someone with a clear opposite ideology would take time out of their weekend to

1) find Bill's blog.
2) an bother to repeatedly write asinine comments criticizing the other posters opinions.

It seems pretty unlikely. But I guess everybody has to make a living.

Bill Tieleman said...

Anonymous 9:26 a.m. - what a great idea! And it would create much more work for PAB staffers, who would then increase their budget!

Anonymous said...

Yikes, Bill - I hadn't thought of it that way, but you are probably right! What a sorry state of affairs when spin takes precedence over good governance..

Anyway, your blog is great; never miss it. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous 09:26

Anonymous said...

I just read about this in the province newspaper and that you have hired a forensic investigator. I hope we nab the corrupt PAB!

Thanks again! Keep up the good work.

NeoDude said...

BC Mary said
"The PAB theme seems to be "Get a life ..." which is so strange"

Bill Tieleman said
"Nice to see the boys and girls at PAB - or simply well-intentioned volunteers - are still at work on a Sunday!"

Anonymous 10:29 said
"It is so odd that someone with a clear opposite ideology would take time out of their weekend to

1) find Bill's blog.
2) an bother to repeatedly write asinine comments criticizing the other posters opinions."

I take exception to all these comments. There's a whole other world out there that dislikes both the Liberals (and their PAB) as well as the NDP (and their Bill Tieleman). I'm quite capable of possessing "a clear opposite ideology" to Mr. Tieleman without belonging to or holding favor with the PAB.

As to my "odd" choice to make "assinine comments" here at any time (if I was the target of that post), it's pretty simple. I have read too much misleading "journalism" here. It scares me that someone who has never been here may accept what is written by Mr. Tieleman at face value and believe the conclusions he reaches are accurate. Well written faulty conclusions from originally misleading (at best) statements cause me concern over what Mr. Tieleman may say next so I'm always vigilant.

I don't seem to be the only one though. What you see as asinine, I see as helping others take a second look at what they read and think about what is really being said.

Anonymous said...

Bill, a quick web/FB search reveals this is not a unique phenomenon. The first discussion I searched out on FB forum turned up this thread: "Very strange friends list issue (disappearing/reappearing)"

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=6628568379&topic=12116#/topic.php?uid=6628568379&topic=12116

I tried Googling phrases like "Why did my Facebook friends disappear" and got oodles of related queries and information. It seems to happen all the time, to all sorts of people and groups, for various reasons ranging from violation of the FB terms to bugs and glitches.

I am not a FB user, but I have read that they have a program allowing you to back-up your profile and friends. Not sure if you did this. If not, you should.

I trust that even if it's not an act of malicious hacking, you will divulge all your findings as to the cause?

Take care.

Anonymous said...

What is most telling is that with zero factual information of any nature Tieleman proclaims he has been the victim of some sort of Watergate level conspiracy and just look at how all of the mindless lapdogs on this blog lap it up. Apparently if you can actually see beyond Bill’s BS you are a secret agent of PAB. You live in your own little word Tieleman. Clearly Tsakumis was right about you all along

Anonymous said...

Suspect number one is Bill Tieleman. Inside job for making this group disappear. Call the police. A crime has been committed. Idiots. Talk about wasting people's time. Knowing Bill, he called 9-1-1. It's an emergency.

Bill Tieleman said...

Nice to see some folks spend a lot of time reading my blog - even though they hate it!

To NeoDude - you are welcome to comment here all you like and I take you at your word that you are not PAB.

But here's my challenge to you - you say that:

"Well written faulty conclusions from originally misleading (at best) statements cause me concern over what Mr. Tieleman may say next so I'm always vigilant."

Thanks for the well-written part but I ask you to cite examples - take as much space as you need - and I will respond.

Otherwise you are just blowing smoke.

Bill Tieleman said...

Hmmm - at 2:32 p.m. on my column post above this one an Anonymous poster alleges I deleted my own NO BC HST Facebook page - then at 2:46 p.m. another Anonymous makes the same allegation on this earlier post.

Nothing else to do today?

NeoDude said...

Sure Bill, and I'll even save you the bother of responding. Incidentally the well written part is actually an insult. It refers to your con man style.

There are many examples and I honestly can't be bothered to go find all or even any of the old ones but I will gladly point them out in future.

Let's consider this article. Your overall message in the whole article and the one following is that of outrageous incredulity that such an event could happen, even though it happened previously for a day, as you mentioned.

I thought Ivan's post that I originally commented on was very satirical although definitely over the top. What you have done is taken a perfectly ordinary, although uncommon event, and without any shred of evidence of wrongdoing, made malicious suggestions (not accusations) of vague potential conspirators.

You craft your words carefully to exaggerate the implications, always painting the victim of your attacks with evil descriptions, and your point of view as amazingly wonderful if not saintly.

From the two articles mentioned:
"killed"
"disturbing mystery"
"disappear without a trace"
"politically-motivated attack"
"strange coincidence"
"surprise"
"accident"
"malicious intent"
"unfair"
"stolen"
"technical failures"
"political hackers"
"ominous"

"miraculously"
"damaging"
"honoured"
"phenomenal"
"amazing"
"legitimate"
"democratically protesting"
"suddenly and miraculously"
"support and concern"

Guess which group refers to who. There are a couple that seem out of place but of course once you find them and put them in context, not so much anymore.

NeoDude said...

A more specific example:
"But given that two of the five Facebook groups I administer -- the two that are the largest and most damaging to the B.C. Liberals -- were made to disappear, it's hard not to think that it was a politically-motivated attack, not a strange coincidence."

This paragraph sums it up. You aren't accusing anyone of anything, yet somehow it is powerfully suggestive that someone is out to get you or stifle your political ideals.

Consider the facts. You administer five facebook groups. Two disappeared. They are the two largest of the five. Well that's it, really. Nothing sinister whatsoever.

Consider your misleading statements.

The two groups referred to are the most damaging. Well, I don't know what your other groups are, perhaps a wine tasting group but Axe The Tax didn't bring down the Liberals any more than a wine review would and while the verdict is still out on NO HST, I haven't heard any rumors that the Liberals are concerned.

They were "made" to disappear. Really? Even though later on it was referred to as possibly by accident? Accidents "happen", they are not "made".

"hard not to think that it was a politically-motivated attack, not a strange coincidence". I assure you, as an uninterested observer in the status of your facebook group, that I had no problem in thinking of it as coincidence and not even strange. I didn't find it hard at all.

I'd like to suggest that the problem you encountered when leaping to that conclusion is simply the thinking part, but I don't believe that's true. Maybe it's because of your involvement that you just took it too personally and I can't blame you for that.

Was that what you were looking for? Let's not waste time discussing who is blowing smoke. It's your modus operandi to obfuscate the issues and like a magician, cast this illusion of grandeur over yourself.

As I said at the beginning, you needn't respond even though you said you would. I was around,in silent disgust, during your heyday of NO-STV. To hear you deny facts by passing them off as opinion is incredible and revolting at the same time. Your spin on this post will continue this tradition by claiming that every adjective was simply your opinion of the facts as you laid them out. You just "reported" what happened or at least as much as you know. And this is an accurate portrayal but is it all true?

As I believe I have shown, you have made biased judgments and to a small degree invented inaccuracies until your portayal has been streched to the point that only vaguely resembles truth.

And this was pretty mundane compared to some previous whoppers. But carry on, you'll hit the jackpot again soon, I'm sure, and we can pick up this discussion anew. I won't stop monitoring you and you're too arrogant to admit your errors.

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks for your 2 replies NeoDude - and for giving us some idea of your motivation - the late and unlamented Single Transferable Vote or STV.

You may not like my opinions or what I think of things but you have not remotely proven your points.

And sadly, I missed that when you said my articles were "well written" that was an insult.

Lastly, as you can see from the comments here, many people don't hold your view that coincidences explain what happened to NO BC HST.

And other posters obviously have political motivation to attack my role opposing the HST.

Anonymous said...

Godwin's Law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies) states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches."

I think we need a similar law for this blog. "As a Tieleman blog discussion grows longer, the probability of a invoking PAB paranoia or STV spilt milk grows."

NeoDude offers an articulate, fair critique in my view. A rather obvious critique that boils down to this: shouldn't you wait and get all the facts BEFORE leaping to paranoia-driven conspiracy conclusion about a missing Facebook page?

The fact you went to the media with this seconds after your Facebook group "mysteriously" disappeared/reappeared, without a shred of evidence - suggesting a government conspiracy or PAB act of espionage leaves you wide open to NeoDude's (and others') criticisms.

I'm not refuting your suspicions at all. I refute the way to recklessly use your suspicions by immediately going public with them without an iota of evidence, for what comes off as cheap political mileage.

So what does make me? A PAB spy or an STV axe grinder? Or both?

Bill Tieleman said...

Meant to respond to Anonymous 9:23's comments that I "went to the media with this seconds after your Facebook group 'mysteriously' disappeared."

In fact, I never, ever contacted the media - they contacted me based on what they read on Facebook, my blog and other online publications.

It must bug you but in fact I was restrained throughout this entire disturbing episode.

What's worst, bloggers or politicians said...

Sure Bill. You are innocent. LOL

Anonymous said...

"In fact, I never, ever contacted the media - they contacted me based on what they read on Facebook, my blog and other online publications."

Fair enough, but you go on to say...

"... in fact I was restrained throughout this entire disturbing episode."

Restrained?? Are you kidding me, Bill? Let's say we buy your version that you were approached by the media. Did you exhibit restraint in your answers and explanations to the media? Obviously not. Otherwise the Province story and your own opinion piece on the Tyee which appeared the following day wouldn't have been laden with conspiracy insinuation.

A restrained response to the media on Sunday night or Monday morning would have been more along this line: "Well, I am awaiting a response from Facebook. I have no idea what happened. It could have been a server crash, a tech glitch, who knows. I will give the full story when I get to the bottom of it. End." But instead, you fed the Province a whole lot of speculative nonsense, and submitted your own speculative opinion piece in the Tyee. This is not restraint, Bill. This is irresponsible, self-serving journalism.

"It must bug you..."

Not at all, Bill. For all you know, I may be a fan of yours who simply believes you handled this really badly, and did so for self-serving political reasons.

I say chill out and wait for the facts to reveal themselves before crying wolf to the media.

Otherwise, believe it or not, I actually enjoy your blog for the most part.

Bill Tieleman said...

Anonymous 10:58 p.m. says tonight:

""It must bug you..."

Not at all, Bill. For all you know, I may be a fan of yours who simply believes you handled this really badly, and did so for self-serving political reasons.

I say chill out and wait for the facts to reveal themselves before crying wolf to the media.

Otherwise, believe it or not, I actually enjoy your blog for the most part."

And I say - chill out Anon - I may even believe you!

Welcome to my free speech blog - you can disagree with me all you want - but you can still read your own comments here nonetheless!

NeoDude said...

Let's see, 5 sentence reply. 3 of them misleading and/or faulty conclusions. You're right, there are many people posting here that agree with you but many who don't as well.

I'm not sure if you even understand the point I was making. You didn't state it and it's so obvious that I wonder if you're thinking something else entirely.

The whole point is to give at least some of those people agreeing with you the opportunity to realize they shouldn't believe everything they read without thinking it out for themselves first.

While I'm comfortable with free speech, that right should not be abused. And though I'm sure you do nothing illegal that doesn't mean you aren't unethical.

You're right, I generally don't like your opinions but if you were to stop misrepresenting them as facts then I would have no point to make here. Are you up to that challenge?

Bill Tieleman said...

To NeoDude - let's deal then with part of your comments at least.

You said:

"The two groups referred to are the most damaging. Well, I don't know what your other groups are, perhaps a wine tasting group but Axe The Tax didn't bring down the Liberals any more than a wine review would and while the verdict is still out on NO HST, I haven't heard any rumors that the Liberals are concerned.

They were "made" to disappear. Really? Even though later on it was referred to as possibly by accident? Accidents "happen", they are not "made"."

On Axe The BC Gas Tax - some will disagree but professor Mark Jaccard - a strong proponent of the carbon tax who supported the BC Liberals introducing it - argued in the Vancouver Sun that the NDP almost won the election because of their fight against the gas tax. You can find more about that on this blog.

The Facebook group clearly indicated popular opposition - but not nearly like the NO BC HST group took off.

And you don't think the BC Liberals are concerned about the HST opposition? Have you seen their news releases denouncing Bill Vander Zalm? Cabinet ministers commenting?

Have you looked at the polls on the HST or the BC Liberals? Or the Ontario Liberals, who dropped from a comfortable first place to an uncomfortable 2nd because of the HST?

If you solely mean my Facebook group, I can't quantify it but the fact that it's BC's biggest should worry any political strategist working to impose the HST.

Lastly yes, NO BC HST was indeed "made" to disappear. I don't know how or why - but it vanished without explanation and reappeared without explanation - it didn't just self-destruct - someone, somewhere took it offline.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy Bill Tieleman's posts. I would not be in the least bit surprised, at, Bills face book group disappearing, accidentally on purpose. Some people will go to extraordinary lengths, to keep their misdeeds from the public. Like incidents, have happened more than once.

NeoDude said...

Sorry Bill, but now I don't think I can see the point of what you have to say in your last response. I don't disagree with your comment regarding Axe The BC Gas Tax and the election but that fight is now over. And yes opposition to the HST is stronger but we are not facing an election for about 3 years.

The news releases and cabinet minister comments? If they are recent then no, I haven't seen any, would like to if you have a link though. But old or new, I would have to think they are just your basic BC political mud slingers. Check out Question Period some time to see how we debate important issues.

I'm aware of the changing polls but I take little notice, care to make a wager what the polls will look like in 2013? And what's uncomfortable about 2nd place? It serves the BC NDP well. So the BC Liberals doing everything they usually do when their policies are criticized, sounds like business as usual, not concern. They know they're in for a fight and they will deal with it, probably win too.

I also don't disagree with your claim that these disappearing acts were no accident, just that until the evidence is presented the statement is supposition, not fact.

Sarah said...

Any good police officer will say there number one suspect is the insider. Instead of the conspiracy theory or someone hacking Tildoman's account, he either did it himself or got someone to do it for him. Either way, bad journalism. And we say journalism loosely since grade school kids write better.

Joy said...

I am stunned that HST is applied to dental floss (and I have no dental plan with my employer, a doctor!