Wednesday – December 1, 2021
This post is for “R” at Facebook – who is going to try to help me get to the bottom of this issue (I wanted him to have all of the considerations in one place – with links, and graphics, and everything!) I have also removed all advertising from this post to hopefully make it easier to read!
I need your help resolving what I believe is an unfair situation…
The image above, if you take a minute to read and understand it, clearly shows the impact of the pandemic on Lead Safe Mama, LLC.
- In the three months before the pandemic began, we had three of our best months ever (in terms of the reach and readership of the work of Lead Safe Mama through this website).
- We had also just doubled our gross business income from 2018 to 2019.
- Lead Safe Mama, LLC’s gross business income of $59,599.51 in 2018 more than doubled to $120,497.29 in 2019.
- Based on earnings from website traffic from December, 2019 to February, 2020, we were also on track to double our gross income again from 2019 to 2020.
- $240,000 in gross business income in 2020 would have meant that Lead Safe Mama, LLC was fully self-sustaining (i.e. with all of the work we do helping families and testing products covered by the income earned by the business) for the first time since we incorporated as an LLC.
- And then the pandemic hit…
- Those three months combined (December, 2019 + January, 2020 + February, 2020) saw 1,768,510 total page views here on the Lead Safe Mama website.
- One year later, the same series of three months combined (December, 2020 + January, 2021 + February, 2021) saw a total of just 786,068 unique page views on LeadSafeMama.com., which was less than just the single month of December, 2019!
It wasn’t JUST that the pandemic hit – but specifically, our readership leads through Facebook – our primary referral source) – completely tanked. It was horrible, and devastating – personally – to have seen a trajectory that would have clearly led to imminent success and growth for our business – which translates directly to in increased impact for the information we share to help others protect their kids – get completely stalled in its tracks so quickly.
I didn’t think that was possible — I used to say to my husband, “the Internet would have to cease to exist for something like that to happen”! — and I didn’t fully understand the actual cause / the mechanics of what had happened (starting in March of 2020) until much later…
Continue reading below the image.
The impact of the momentum of our programmatic reach being stopped dead in its tracks was that a business — a woman-owned small business with a unique collaborative business model – with the primary focus being to engage parents in conversations about childhood Lead-poisoning prevention / protecting children’s health and well-being — did not progress to a fully-sustainable business model (the costs of the business covered by the work done by the business), but instead spent another year (and now two years) floundering, working nonstop just to try to make ends meet and stay afloat – not even covering the costs related to the business (let alone covering reasonable rates of pay for people working for the business).
For context, it is important for you to know that Lead Safe Mama income is not based on selling anything – while (at the request of our readership) we do now have affiliate links to safer products, the income that we rely on to fund this work is primarily based on people reading and sharing the science-based information we discover and write about. This means that throttling/stopping distribution of our information significantly negatively impacted our business’ ability to grow and thrive and continue to help more and more families impacted by metallic toxicants – notably Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic, Mercury, & Antimony – in their homes, schools, and environment [including consumer goods]!
I want to interrupt this narrative for a moment to clearly point out that the work we do here is 100% legitimate & science-based. [Among many, many acknowledgements that we have received (from both government agencies and the advocacy community), we were recognized as the small business responsible for discovering and alerting regulators to the prevalence of Lead in Fidget Spinners (findings subsequently confirmed by USPIRG and covered by CBS This Morning in November of 2017 – link.)]
I review and analyze Lead Safe Mama stats pretty carefully on a regular basis; as a result, I realized (many months into the Pandemic) that what was at the heart of the “crash” in web traffic over the course of the Pandemic was that instead of 25% – 35%+ of the Lead Safe Mama website traffic coming (organically) through Facebook – Facebook had nearly stopped showing Lead Safe Mama posts to readers entirely – including the 37,000+ followers on the Lead Safe Mama Facebook page! Clicks through to the website from Facebook abruptly dropped – consistently – to about 5% to 10% of our traffic!
We would post something on the Lead Safe Mama business Facebook page, and instead of our typical reach of several thousand views, it would get maybe 50 or 100 views (or on the outside 200 or 300) — unless we paid to promote it. [And even when we have paid to promote a post – just in case that might make a difference – it still performed unexpectedly/conspicuously poorly.]
We even conducted a little experiment — and posted something non-controversial on the Lead Safe Mama business page (no-one saw it or interacted with it!) – and then later posted the same short video on my husband’s personal page and it was seen, liked and interacted with by dozens of people within minutes! [This was a rather funny short video of my husband sledding and was a likely candidate to get some good interaction – but still got NO interaction on the business page.]
And so we realized (and proved to ourselves with a few different tests like the one above) that people who had signed up to see our posts by “Liking” and “Following” the page (or being in our Facebook groups – or “Friending” me on Facebook) were not being served our content (and – in fact – were missing most of our findings of Lead and other toxicants in consumer goods).
At some point, I began to speculate that perhaps this was likely happening to any-and-all health-related content on Facebook. There seemed to be a Facebook shift to not sharing health-related-content unless it was CoViD-19-related, and unless it was from a source vetted by Facebook and deemed to be “reliable” by Facebook [irrespective of the controversial specifics of Facebook’s vetting strategy]. Below I will share three examples of specific posts where the “new policies” of or “censorship” by Facebook appeared to have a significant impact.
The above concern (Facebook not serving Lead Safe Mama posts to readers) was profoundly evident to me this past summer (June 2021), when I published new findings of Lead-painted NUK brand glass baby bottles — BABY BOTTLES currently available for purchase in the United States via Amazon with Lead-painted markings on the outside of the bottles (where babies put their hands).
This… frankly… was a post that SHOULD have gone viral (and would have under normal pre-pandemic censorship circumstances.) This was a post that *should* have gotten the attention of the National News Media – but instead this post has had only 3,436 page views since it was published in June (not even anywhere near the top ten Lead Safe Mama posts for the year – which have between 20,000 and 100,000 page views each – see graphic below!) This makes no sense at all (given reliable historical data metrics for the Lead Safe Mama website combined with the demographics of our readership – mostly young mothers with infants and toddlers at home).
Continue reading below the image of the top 10 posts for the past year.
Censorship in this way (specifically, limiting the reach of Lead Safe Mama posts) is not warranted and makes no sense. Lead poisoning prevention is an important issue (especially this year) and the work of Lead Safe Mama, LLC is science-based, and replicable. Our work is not “alarmist”, or “fear-mongering” in any way; language is always carefully chosen to be as neutral as possible [taking into account the type of product tested, and the potential for actual negative health impact of the product when used as intended by the intended audience]. I did not assert nor imply anything incendiary [like, “your baby bottle will poison your child”] — I merely advised, “Stop using these Lead-painted glass baby bottles until further notice.” The post was very factual – and the advice conservatively reasonable – with a thoughtful, articulate, well-written (if I do say so myself) & well-edited post – a post with science and facts behind it… yet clearly 100% censored by Facebook.
Continue reading below the image
The image below shows all page views on the Nuk baby bottle post since it was published.
During the pandemic I also published another series of posts about Lead on Milk Bottles – which appeared to be similarly censored.
The reusable glass milk bottles from small family dairy farms (including “Organic”, “grass-fed”, etc.) across the country have the same problem as the baby bottles in question and the story should have been picked up by the “wire services” as national news – but was not. This story was possibly even more-compelling a story (than the Lead-painted baby bottles) — as these glass milk bottles are primarily manufactured by ONE SINGLE PLANT in CANADA, and the United States is allowing the import of these Lead painted milk bottles to our country for use by our Organic dairy farms.
No word in the media on this however…not a peep – and only 854 page views here on LeadSafeMama.com since this post was published – likely due to massive censorship by Facebook. It made no sense. When I published the overview post for the milk bottle issue I got the same level of “crickets” from the social media community as with the baby bottles – and this is on a post that (again) SHOULD have gone viral (given the demographic of my readership and the overlap with people who purchase and drink milk in glass bottles from local family farms.)
When the baby bottle / milk bottle / Lead-paint issue didn’t go viral, I even included some discussion of the issue in my video interview with Jon Fishman (drummer of the band Phish) — and even with a celebrity connection (a celebrity who is also a parent of a child who tested positive for Lead in his blood, and a celebrity parent who also has a farm, and had dairy cows, and likely used bottles from this same Canadian company!), the issue did not go viral — and in fact, the information was not even given a chance to reach loyal Lead Safe Mama readers (a core readership of about 40,000 people), let alone members of the press.
Continue reading below the image
This image shows all page views on the milk bottle post since it was published.
Example #3) Lead-contaminated baby powder
Since this baby powder post was published – a little over a week ago – it has only had 928 page views – which again seems preposterous, given the nature of the product, and the nature of the findings, combined with the overlap in the customer base for the product and Lead Safe Mama readership – not to mention the fact that it is a repeat violation, by a known corporate offender.
With 37,000 Facebook followers on our page and 14,000 members of our Facebook group the numbers anticipated from a post like this shared before the pandemic would have made more sense (easily 4,000 to 5,000 page views of a post [or more] – about 10% of our regular readership – in the days after it was published… not less than 1,000!)
Why is this happening?
I have a lot of theories about WHY my work is being censored – here are some:
- Facebook algorithms are perhaps overly aggressive in censorship / restrictions of health-related information since the start of the pandemic.
- Facebook algorithms are perhaps overly aggressive in censorship / restrictions of health-related information, in general.
- Perhaps it is just that Facebook has switched to a fully pay-to-play model and does not note exceptions for information that is “news” or “in the public interest.”
- More likely (in the case of Lead Safe Mama’s work specifically), Facebook is depending on “fact-checkers” (including Snopes) who are not using actual facts and science-based information, and consequently has censored Lead Safe Mama’s work because of the random bogus/false claims about this work on Snopes (which Snopes only published in attempt to skim some of Lead Safe Mama’s viral traffic on the various issues.) Please note: Snopes contributors have written four separate entries referencing the work of Lead Safe Mama, LLC; two of which cite us as an “expert”, referencing our work and findings to confirm (or disprove) some claim, and two others implying that our work is somehow irrelevant or not legitimate – using un-researched false and misleading statements! We have repeatedly asked for them to retract the two articles that are riddled with erroneous – and libelous – nonsense (primarily the article from December of 2016, but also the article from 2019), but they have never responded. Here is a summary of all Lead Safe Mama interactions with Snopes. Here are two recent videos (part 1 & part 2) also discussing why their assertions / claims / articles are false — and potentially causing harm to their readers.
- Facebook has likely received complaints about my work from others in the health community [primarily individuals with revenue streams from marketing & sales of consumer goods with dubious exaggerated or false claims of supposed health benefits — items which we here at Lead Safe Mama, LLC have tested and found to variously contain high levels of Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Arsenic, etc.] who do not want this work to succeed.
- Instead of fact-checking those complaints, Facebook appears to have “erred” on the side of simply accepting them (and on that basis, censored the reach and impacts of Lead Safe Mama posts shared on our page or shared by others directly on their pages).
- This seemed to be the case when Erin Elizabeth (Dr. Mercola’s wife) sent her minions after us on Facebook (posting thousands of derogatory comments), after I published a post in March of 2021 stating my husband got his first dose of the Covid vaccine.
- Ironic, given she was later scrubbed from social media for her anti-vaxx stance (yet the impact of her harassment of my Facebook page remained).
- Here’s a link to a summary of that interaction – including a link to the original Facebook post that started it.
- Then, when – in response to the attacks (including many personal attacks) by her thousands of readers – I posted a screenshot of her public comments along with a reminder that her husband was (until fairly recently) selling pans with Lead paint on them (which he marketed as “metals free”) – and that he never publicly addressed this concern nor offered refunds to customers (something I have written about for years), she had her followers attack the Lead Safe Mama page a second time.
- While I hope the following is NOT the reason for the censorship, I must put this one out there too: Perhaps Facebook is censoring me because I was illegally arrested – for crimes I did not commit [and I have not yet had the record of the false arrest expunged]. If this were the reason for Facebook’s censorship, I would love this in writing, as it would support my current lawsuit against the State of Oregon. To Note:
- If anyone bothered to do their homework on this red herring, they would see that all of the charges were false and that a full IRS audit proved me innocent of all of the allegations (all of the relevant details and official letters and court filings are discussed and linked here on this website) – and the charges were dropped in full.
- I was proven innocent of the allegations (including the preposterous claim of allegedly “stealing health insurance” for my disabled children!!!) over and over again following repeated unwarranted investigations by multiple public agencies (which is another reason we are suing the State – because they refused to “believe” or agree with the IRS audits that exonerated me of the false allegations… which is really just astounding [I have never ever heard of anyone – in any professional capacity – questioning the validity of the outcome of a full investigative audit by the IRS!])
- If anyone did their homework on this, they would also see that, as a result of the coordinated multi-pronged attack, which destroyed the multiple-Federal-award-winning non-profit I founded, I am now suing the State of Oregon Department of Justice (and the State as a whole) in Federal court for multiple counts of Civil Rights violations.
- The State offered a tiny settlement earlier this year, but we did not accept it as they refused to even acknowledge the enormous costs and impact of what they did to my family and to this advocacy work.
- We are fighting the State of Oregon in Federal Court in the hopes that an appropriate judgment will make it so these bad actors within the State of Oregon (and similar State employees across the country) can never do this sort of thing to an activist or to a private citizen ever again (as they appear to be doing now – without fear of repercussions).
- We are pursing this for an outcome that represents justice for everyone impacted, not just for a “settlement” to recoup financial losses from these civil rights violations.
- My kids think this makes me a badass activist (getting illegally arrested for crimes I did not commit and being unjustly and aggressively persecuted by representatives within publicly funded State and County agencies) – but Facebook might have chosen to censor me over this – I can see that, even though it would not be just or fair (or represent any shred of reasonable action.)
I have written this post today to share with a friend of friend who works at Facebook. I am sincerely hoping that he is able to share the pertinent facts of this story with Facebook and somehow to get Facebook’s blatant censorship of the Lead poisoning prevention work (and independent consumer goods testing) of Lead Safe Mama, LLC removed (or at least get to the bottom of how this happened) so that – for example – parents using glass baby bottles (with lead paint on them) can be informed of this concern without the restrictions of arbitrary censorship.
Some more background to support the legitimacy of this work…
- I am an independent advocate for consumer goods safety and childhood Lead poisoning prevention.
- I have been doing this work since my children were acutely Lead poisoned in 2005, when my youngest son at the time was just 7 months old.
- I have won multiple national awards for my work in the past decade including TWO awards from United States government agencies.
- I have been interviewed for (or had my work referenced in) countless international publications and television programs (of all stripes / political persuasions) since 2007 (USA Today, The New York Times, The Today Show, Al Jazeera English, CBS This Morning, news programs on CBS, FOX, NBC, ABC, CNN and other networks, The New York Post, Truth Out, The Voice of Russia, Mother Jones, Parents Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens Australia and more!)
- My work is not politically biased (it is not partisan).
- The science we use here at Lead Safe Mama, LLC is factual, provable, replicable – not at question.
- At Lead Safe Mama, LLC we use the same instrumentation for my research that is used by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission to screen consumer goods for heavy metal toxicants.
Facebook – thank you for your consideration in removing the censorship of my accounts — specifically, removing the censorship that is limiting the reach and impact of Lead Safe Mama posts shared by me or others in public and private forums.
Still not sure about the validity of this work? I am available to come to Facebook HQ (or to your home, Mark Z!) to show you how my testing instrumentation works – to test your dishes (to test the dishes or other consumer goods of any employee who has questions about the concern.)
Here are some additional supporting details of outreach work I have done over the past decade+
- Hosts / Clients for corporate presentations I have done have included Nike, Seventh Generation, SC Johnson Wax and others
- I have also done more than a dozen presentations hosted and sponsored by The State of New Hampshire Department of Public Health (just one example) — at hospitals, schools, theaters, and elsewhere throughout the State – for which the State gives Continuing Education Credits to those who attend (including teachers; childcare workers; medical professionals; abatement contractors, and others)
- I have spoken as a presenter at M.I.T. (Cambridge, MA); at OHSU, Portland State University, and Kaiser Permanente (Portland, OR); Dartmouth Medical Center; EPA HQ in Denver, and at EPA regional conferences in Denver, Seattle, Portland and Georgia.
- I also do one-on-one work with families, and my clients have included scientists, physicians; legislators & policymakers; lawyers; executives, administrators, and employees at Nasa; JPL; Google; Apple; Facebook; Spotify, and many, many other extensively educated, science-minded individuals.These people (and the agencies above) would NOT hire me or have me come speak at events if the science we used was unproven, controversial, or “woo”!
- I coordinated an event in Flint, Michigan with Bernie Sanders in 2016 — and he later said it was his “favorite event of the campaign trail”.
- Just over a month later (in April of 2016)n I was the opening speaker for an event with Erin Brockovich in Portland (a presentation about corporate pollution of residential neighborhoods in Portland).
The work of Lead Safe Mama, LLC is legitimate.
The censorship of the reach of this work is not.
Please understand that I feel strongly that Facebook faces significant responsibility for this information not being disseminated fairly to an audience that has indicated that they definitely want this information. This is not just an intellectual exercise – but has vital real world repercussions: infants everywhere are still using Lead-painted Nuk glass baby bottles because this information has not been given the opportunity to organically reach the intended audience.
A final thought: As Mark Zuckerberg is also a parent of young children – who MAY have used glass baby bottles (and as he may very well use glass reusable milk bottles from local dairies), it seems to me that getting this information out there – in the interest of protecting children around the world – would be in his interest as well (and consistent with his publicly-stated commitment to the health and well-being of children.)
Thank you for your time.
I sincerely hope we can resolve this this month (December 2021) if at all possible – as December – January – February earnings each year are critical to support operations during normally slower months over the Spring and Summer each year. Our losses from this censorship worked out to about $124,000 in 2020 plus an estimated additional loss of $130,000 by the end of 2021 if this is not resolved. We would love the opportunity to restore the trajectory that Lead Safe Mama, LLC was on before the pandemic.
Tamara Elise Rubin
Mother of Lead Poisoned Children
Federal Award Winning Environmental Activist
& Advocate for Consumer Goods Safety and Corporate Accountability
Lead Safe Mama, LLC
A woman-owned, Portland Oregon based, small business.
7933 SE 15th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97202