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Facebook bans BJ Barnes, current Summerfield mayor and former Guilford County sheriff

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BJ Barnes, shown here at his swearing-in ceremony as Summerfield’s mayor in 2019, says he has been banned from Facebook.

GREENSBORO — BJ Barnes, the former Guilford County sheriff and current mayor of Summerfield, is considering starting a webpage of his own after being banned from Facebook — twice.

Nearly 9,000 people follow Barnes’ popular Facebook page, which can still be viewed, but has no new posts since early May when Barnes said he was first “bumped” from the social media site.

“They blocked me for about a month the first time,” Barnes said. He said he was not given a reason by Facebook for the ban.

The block came after a post in which Barnes referenced “Obiden,” a term coined by former President Donald Trump when referring to President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama. Barnes said he suspects terms used by conservatives are often sought out on Facebook by those looking to block posts or accounts.

“I’m not trying to be a conspiracy theorist, but I think the conservatives are at a disadvantage when it comes to using,” Facebook, which Barnes, a prominent Guilford County Republican, calls a “liberal outlet.”

Barnes said he “made it no secret” on his Facebook page that he isn’t a supporter of Biden.

According to Facebook, an account might be blocked if a user has posted a lot in a short amount of time, shared posts marked as unwelcome or shared something that goes against Facebook’s “community standards.”

Using “hate speech” and sharing “false news” are listed as two of several examples that would violate community standards, according to Facebook’s transparency center.

Barnes’ posts ranged from opinions on national politics to local issues, often igniting conversation in the comment sections that became heated. He said he didn’t block people from the page unless they were using crude language.

“My whole purpose on my page was to get people thinking and talking,” Barnes said, adding that he enjoyed being able to read responses, even from those who disagreed with his opinions.

Barnes said he turned to information technology professionals in his quest to be unbanned from Facebook, but they were unable to get him back on the social media site.

Losing 9,000 followers was huge, Barnes said. His platform — the place where he could start conversations and the place where he could promote the books he’s writing — was taken from him.

“So I decided to start another page.”

After making just one post on that new page, he was banned again, Barnes said.

This time, Facebook sent a message, indicating that the ban was “irreversible.”

Still seeking a way to connect to the Guilford County community, Barnes is considering starting a webpage of his own. It would be a place where he could offer his opinions and those inclined to could share their thoughts, he says.

Barnes said he knows his page has an impact on the community.

“I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish,” Barnes said, “which was to get people thinking, to do their own research.”

For those looking to contact Barnes in the meantime, he said he can be reached at bjbarnes@triad.rr.com.

Contact Jamie Biggs at 336-373-4476 and follow @JamieBiggsNR on Twitter.

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