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VALLEY CENTER, CA, June 22, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A craftsman whose six year-old son inspired his small business making American flags is fighting back against Big Tech's attempt to crush his small business.
“Thank you for all your patience and support,” James Staake told customers over Twitter on May 14.
“Together we will show Big Tech that the American flag cannot be canceled!”
James and Ginger Staake, the owners of Your American Flag Store, discovered early this year that Facebook, PayPal, Google, and Shopify had deemed their handmade, wooden flags a “questionable product.” One of the Staakes’ flags had President Donald Trump’s picture painted on it, and the woodworker and painter experienced a drop in sales of 90% — right when Trump himself was being shoved off the internet by Big Tech.
“On January 7, we woke up and like the rest of the world saw that Donald Trump was de-platformed and Parler was taken off, but we didn’t know … that thousands of companies, like my own, were demonetized and kind of attacked,” James Staake told Newsmax’s Rob Schmitt in February.
At first the small business owner just saw a “steep decline” in visits to his website. After a week of low sales, Staake began to investigate what was wrong. Shopify wasn’t much help, but light dawned when he tried to take out an ad on Facebook.
“That’s when I found out that our ad privileges had been suspended,” he said.
All that Facebook told Staake when he protested is that the products he sells is “against their community standards.”
Staake launched his business after his six year-old son Max asked him to begin a family business. The Your American Flag Store website explains how one day Max told his father: “I want to build American Flags with you and I want Mommy to put artwork on them.”
Staake acknowledged that not everyone would want his flags celebrating the Second Amendment in their homes, but he stated also that he sells military flags and flags for first responders. He revealed that Facebook had pulled down ads for this several of his flags in the past but said he never thought that the social media giant would “pull all of our rights to advertise completely for any flag.”
“It’s a shame,” he said. “It’s shocking. It's maddening. It hurts.”
PayPal has joined Facebook in making it difficult for Your American Flag Store to continue business. On February 2, 2021, the company put a hold on the store’s account and has continued to withhold tens of thousands of dollars in sales.
In late May, the Center for American Liberty, working with the Dhillon Law Group, issued PayPal a Notice of Dispute, informing the company that it is “destroying” its client.
“Ever since Your American Flag Store’s launch in February 2018, Mr. and Mrs. Staake have worked hard to develop and expand their company’s wooden flag-making business,” wrote lawyer Harmeet K. Dhillon.
“As the business continued to grow, Your American Flag Store turned to PayPal to seamlessly handle all of its customers’ credit card transactions — as PayPal promises its business customers it will do,” Dhillon continued.
“Your American Flag Store has been a customer of PayPal’s since March 3, 2020. Over the course of its relationship with PayPal, Your American Flag Store has relied on the promised continuity of PayPal’s payment system with respect to the processing of its customers’ payments. But PayPal’s promises have been hollow, and PayPal is now destroying this small American business by interfering with its customer contracts and converting customer payments for its own purposes.
PETITION UPDATE (5/5/2021) - BREAKING: Facebook permanently removes LifeSiteNews’ page
Facebook has just permanently banned LifeSiteNews’ Facebook page. This apparently is not a temporary measure: It is gone for good.
"Much like when LifeSite was removed from YouTube, this comes with little surprise,” noted LifeSiteNews Marketing Director Rebekah Roberts.
"Facebook has been silencing any voice that goes against their beliefs and agenda," continued Roberts. "Our LifeSiteNews Facebook page has been removed simply because we have shared reports of doctors, nurses, expert researchers, and even the former Pfizer VP speaking out against the COVID shots. We’ve also been tagged for the numerous articles we have shared making the connection between the COVID shots, and really all vaccines, and aborted baby cell lines."
"This all comes down to another case of Big Tech silencing free speech on their platform," she added.
"At this time, I encourage those of you who are still on Facebook, Twitter, and other Big Tech platforms to continue sharing LifeSiteNews articles with your friends and family, please!” urged Roberts. “I also encourage you to follow us on these alternative platforms:"
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PETITION UPDATE (2/23/21) -
LifeSite has signed on to a Media Research Center (MRC) letter to all 50 state Attorneys General, calling for an investigation into Big Tech.
Google, Facebook, and Twitter have monopolized the industry, and are using their influence to collect user data, suppress content, and silence those who voice ideas and beliefs counter to their own.
As we urged prior, action must be taken to combat these efforts, and that is why we’ve joined the MRC in this fight.
Please take a couple of minutes to READ this LifeSiteNews article about MRC's initiative: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/lifesite-joins-effort-asking-state-attorneys-general-to-investigate-big-tech-for-deceptive-trade-practices
Then, please SIGN and STOP using Twitter, Facebook, Google (YouTube) and Amazon to take back your privacy and freedom of speech!
PETITION UPDATE (2/9/21) -
YouTube just completely removed the LifeSiteNews YouTube channel. This isn’t a ban, every single one of our videos is completely gone. Being completely removed from YouTube means we’ve lost access to 300,000+ followers.
This is the latest and appalling affront to free speech which is happening to many conservative and Christian organizations.
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PETITION UPDATE (1/26/20) -
Twitter has again locked LifeSiteNews out of two of our accounts on the platform for displaying a message noting that President Joe Biden’s newly named Assistant Secretary of Health “Rachel” Levine is a man.
Both accounts displayed a simple message which read: “Biden names transgender ‘woman’ as Assistant Secretary of Health. ‘Rachel’ Levine is a father of two who divorced his wife in 2013 after 30 years of marriage.” The tweets also included a link to LifeSite’s article Biden names transgender ‘woman’ as Assistant Secretary of Health, and contained part of the opening sentence of that article, “Joe Biden has announced his intention to appoint a gender-confused man” as Assistant Secretary of Health.
For stating biological or Biblical truths, Twitter and Big Tech are trying to shut down conservative voices.
Therefore, it is now more important than ever to consider dumping Twitter, Google (who own YouTube) and Facebook. To be clear: LifeSite is still using Twitter and Big Tech to encourage others to migrate away from these illiberal platforms.
This is not the first time that LifeSiteNews has been censored by Twitter. In December 2019, Twitter indefinitely suspended our account for a tweet that linked to an article on transgender activist Jonathan “Jessica” Yaniv.
At the time, Twitter gave LifeSite the option to delete the tweet and reactivate our account right away. LifeSite remained steadfast that the tweet did not violate any of the company’s “rules and policies,” and sought several appeals with Twitter, while looking into legal action against the company.
And, while LifeSite's account was eventually restored, we must now consider what course of action we will pursue in this case, over and above appealing the ban.
Meanwhile, since taking office on Wednesday last week, Joe Biden has already signed an executive order which will force women’s athletic programs, restrooms, and locker rooms to be open to men. He has also turned back the Trump administration’s policy protecting women’s sports programs in schools.
Last week, LifeSite was banned for two weeks from our YouTube channel, after the site determined that one of our videos about vaccines violated YouTube’s “community guidelines.” We are also in the middle of appealing this ban.
Please considering SIGNING and SHARING this petition. Thank you!
Twitter just deplatformed President Trump premanently! And, other conservatives, including General Flynn and Sidney Powell, were also summarily deplatformed.
Conservatives, Christians and freedom-loving Americans of all political persuasions must now take a decision to preserve their free speech AND their ability to peaceably assemble by dumping Twitter and Big Tech, and by finding other good alternatives to communicate with each other and share their opinions.
Please SIGN our petition-pledge to Dump Twitter and Big Tech, and take back your freedom of speech and privacy. [CLICK HERE for our "Goodbye Google" resources page to find good alternatives to Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Google!]
When you use Twitter or Facebook to communicate, and, or, Google and Amazon to search for something online, these companies can stifle your ability to share your thoughts and opinions and manipulate your search results, threatening your privacy, your freedom of speech, and even our democracy.
Evidence suggests that Twitter and Facebook's 'community guidelines' are selectively enforced against conservatives and Christians, while Google rigs their search algorithms to direct traffic away from conservative and Christian websites, effectively choking traffic to those sites.
Simply put, Twitter, Facebook, Google (who owns YouTube) and Amazon appear to be actively suppressing access to pro-freedom, pro-family and pro-life news and opinion.
Don't contribute to this assault on democracy: Stop using Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon as your default social media platforms and search engine! [CLICK HERE to find a good alternative to Google.]
To repeat: a few liberal and completely unaccountable computer programmers in Silicon Valley are dictating what we do and do not see in our Twitter and Facebook feeds, and in our Google searches.
We, here, at LifeSite, also recently had our Twitter account suspended by the company over "misgendering" a man who claims to be a woman.
LifeSite has also experienced a fall-off in Google search-related traffic since the company updated its search algorithms at the beginning of May.
And, since the November election, Twitter and Big Tech appear to have dramatically INCREASED their censorship of conservatives and Christians as the President Trump disputed the results of the election and when evidence of election fraud began to mount.
Now, it seems likely that they are trying to cut-off conservative leaders (like President Trump) from conservatives on the ground, and effectively exclude us from the national conversation.
But, this tactic will not work. Because Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon are not the only game in town! There are a good number of excellent alternatives which we list in our 'Goodbye Google' Resources page.
The great irony is that, while Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon executives talk a lot about maintaining freedom of speech and diversity, in fact, these hypocrites are ATTACKING free speech point-blank!
This kind of manipulation poses a lethal threat to our democracy, but as we see so clearly now, Twitter and Big Tech have shown no hesitation in excluding conservatives and Christians from the public square.
So, at this point, the only way to stop Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon is to quit using their platform.
Please SIGN and SHARE this petition to pledge to stop using Twitter and Big Tech. Then, please CLICK HERE to find alternative search engines and social media platforms. Thank you!
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'BREAKING: Twitter permanently bans President Trump from platform' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-twitter-permanently-bans-president-trump-from-platform
WATCH LifeSite's exclusive series - 'Big Tech vs Free Speech' - of interviews with experts on how Big Tech censorship is killing free speech: https://www.lifesitenews.com/bigtech/
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Dhillon described how a PayPal employee calling himself “Scotty” was “argumentative and hostile” towards the Staakes and said that he “was putting a hold” on their PayPal account to protect their customers from their business. “Scotty” accused James Staake of having a “shady business model” and, when challenged, said that Your American Flag Store was selling “questionable products.”
PayPal did release some of the payments, but not enough so that Staake could afford to deliver all the ordered products. On May 13 he contacted PayPal about this and was told that PayPal “would not even consider releasing more funds until August 3, 2021.”
“In fact, he was informed that if he had not shipped all the custom wooden flags to customers by August 3, 2021, PayPal would not be releasing any more funds,” Dhillon wrote.
“In other words, after promising to seamlessly process payments for its customers, PayPal held onto funds belonging to Your American Flag Store and demanded that the company and/or its owner, go into debt in order to ship the very same customer orders PayPal had promised to seamlessly fulfill.”
Staake is far from alone in experiencing this kind of persecution by Big Tech. LifeSiteNews was censored by Big Tech this past February, being de-platformed from both Facebook and YouTube. Parler was blacklisted by Amazon, Google, and Apple in January 2021. Doctors and medical professionals speaking for alternatives to the COVID-19 vaccine as treatment against the coronavirus are also being censored.
Florida is the first state to fight back against Big Tech and with the new SB 7072 law in place, citizens can sue the Tech companies for damages up to $100,000. Under the new law, small businesses are protected from unfair censorship, shadow banning and/or de-platforming from social media and tech companies. Social media companies are also now unable to ban Florida users without warning, as they must now give a seven-day heads-up before a potential ban, explaining the reason underlying, and offering the chance to resolve the issue.