5 Years Ago Today Was The Worst Day Of My Professional Life – Surviving Didi Delgado, Monica Cannon-Grant, And Tech Censorship
Editor’s Note: We discussed this topic on the Live Show
Five years ago today was one of the worst days I’ve ever had professionally since launching Turtleboy in late in 2013.
In 2017 the blog grew exponentially. I added 5-6 new bloggers, monthly page views tripled to nearly 3 million per month, and social media was largely to thank. Our Twitter account had 15,000 followers before being permanently suspended on October 30, 2017. But I didn’t really care that much because Facebook was my bread and butter. Over 70% of daily traffic to the website came from people who saw our posts on Facebook. We were adding 1,000 new followers every 3 days that year, going from barely over 10,000 people on our page to this:
Life was good, and so was business. At the rate we were growing at we would hit half a million followers in a couple years, and Turtleboy would be a household name across the country. I was cocky, arrogant, and felt untouchable. This was a huge character flaw, and I was about to be humbled.
The morning of November 28, 2017 was like any other Tuesday. I got in the car to go to my weekly radio show in Worcester on 100.1 FM The Pike. When I got home and went to check the inbox it was gone.
I didn’t think it was the end of the page, because we’d been suspended before, and I had previously hired an attorney who had gotten in touch with Facebook’s attorneys and helped restore the page. But this time there was no response, and I learned the hard way that there is nothing you can to do when this happens. It’s their platform and they can kick anyone off whenever they feel like it, for whatever reason. Since then I’ve created over 50 pages that have been removed, and I’ve had hundreds, if not thousands of posts taken down. Most of the posts removed don’t violate any standards. We are simply a target for mass reporting because of the kind of people we expose. Here’s some samples, including this gem from Christmas morning 2017.
I would intentionally post things that were over the top, ridiculously nice, because I knew they would be removed and wanted to be able to highlight how ridiculous this was. No media outlet seemed interested in covering it, including a reporter I spoke to from The Daily Wire, who told me that they didn’t want to write a story critical of Facebook because they were dependent on it too. No one wanted to talk about what was happening to me because they thought it would stop with Turtleboy and Alex Jones. They were wrong.
Since then Facebook has become somewhat safer, and mass reporting isn’t as effective as it used to be. But what Facebook does now is hide me in people’s feeds. Every day people message me to say that my posts don’t show up, and interaction on a typical post doesn’t compare to what Facebook was like when it was free. You can follow the current page I’m using by clicking here. I’ve had it for almost 2 years and it has 38K followers. This is the biggest and longest lasting page I’ve had since losing our primary page 5 years ago, but I will never get too attached to a page that some blue haired loser in Silicon Valley can turn off my pressing a button.
The posts that set it all off were the first blogs I ever published about Didi Delgado and Monica Cannon-Grant. On November 27 I had published a blog about how Didi was forcing white women to pay her reparations every week, and was blowing the proceeds on exotic vacations and manicures. The two of them unleashed an army of mostly woke white women, who obediently spent hours a day maliciously reporting our posts in the hopes of getting our pages removed. It worked, and the haters came out of the woodworks to celebrate the perceived death of Turtleboy.
Luckily I had two backup pages with over 40,000 followers in case this ever happened, but within days they were removed as well. Since then we have lost over 50 other pages. The trolls were relentless.
Since then Facebook has become somewhat safer, and mass reporting isn’t as effective as it used to be. But what Facebook does now is hide me in people’s feeds. Every day people message me to say that my posts don’t show up, and interaction on a typical post doesn’t compare to what Facebook was like when it was free.
It sickened me to see such horrible, disgusting people winning. I’m not going to lie, it was extremely depressing time and it did a number on me mentally. All of my bloggers quit because they got paid by the page view, and without Facebook to share the content there wasn’t much money to be made. In order to keep appearances and make it seem like I wasn’t totally defeated I kept writing under their pen names, and would crank out twice the daily content in order to make it look like Turtleboy wasn’t a sinking ship. The girls I was pretending to be would still come on the Live Show to make it seem like they were still writing, but the blogs stopped.
It was exhausting, I had a new baby boy at home, and I hardly slept. I remember wanting to give up so many times, including one incident where I collapsed on the kitchen floor and just lay there trying not to cry after yet another page was removed. I am the least sympathetic person in the world, so I couldn’t let anyone know how much this was hurting me. There were too many people who would take joy in it, and for years I bottled up my depression until I eventually exploded and had a massive panic attack in January of 2021.
It felt like I had no control over the growth and distribution of my content, because at the time I didn’t. Imagine being an online retailer and being banned from using the USPS and Amazon, except there were no FedEx or UPS for alternatives. That was my relationship with Facebook, and to an extent Twitter. I was dependent upon them to post our blogs so people could read, share, comment, and follow the pages, and there were no competitors. It was how we grew, and there is no way I would be where I am today without Facebook. Remaining on the platform was something I had no choice but to do, despite the abusive relationship I was in with this faceless tech monopoly.
Facebook wasn’t the only one censoring Turtleboy either though:
- Every local advertiser left the blog in 2017 after an organized harassment campaign called Turtleboycott. This cost me well over $5,000 a month in revenue.
- I began to make money using Google AdSense, which paid by the page view. But I was permanently blacklisted from using Google AdSense on Turtleboysports.com in 2018, which meant the website could not make money. I was later banned from 2 other ad networks that paid less. In order to survive I created a whole new website from scratch that you’re reading now (TBDailyNews.com). I cleaned up the title names, limited my usage of the word fupa, and am still able to monetize the blog today.
- Twitter took down 2 more of my accounts, before permanently banning me from making new accounts using my phone, computer, and home wifi. In order to get on Twitter two years later I had to get a new phone number, new computer, and new router. Gaining back all of my followers has been a struggle.
- I had 5-6 Instagram accounts removed, but you can’t post links to blogs on there so I didn’t use it much to begin with.
- In 2020 I was banned for life by PayPal, which prevented me from collecting donations on the website. When I called them to find out what I had done they told me they couldn’t tell me because then I could make a new account, adhere to their rules, and avoid getting suspended.
- I am banned from using GoFundMe after raising $15K in 24 hours for legal defense after an abusive transgender dude named Ashley St. Angelo attempted to get an order on me in Providence.
- We created an app that people used to go directly to the blog, but it was removed from the Google Play and Apple stores after being mass reported.
- We have had dozens of YouTube videos removed, and are permanently banned from monetizing the channel and accepting donations because we had the wrong opinion about Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate in August of 2021.
Psychologically it does a number on you to get banned from so many platforms. Do you understand what it feels like to be labeled as such a horrid, disgusting parasite, that your presence on the most popular apps we use to communicate was a threat to civilized society? I wanted to be on Twitter so badly because it was the best place to network with other journalists and content creators. But I couldn’t, because I was dirty, vile, and subhuman. I was such an evil and disgusting person that PayPal wouldn’t let me receive or send my own money to people. When friends or family divide up a dinner and the person paying tells everyone to Venmo or PayPal them, I’m the guy who has to ask everyone to download Cashapp. I know I’m a flawed person, but being treated like this for years makes you feel like you’re not even human, and was a major reason I began suffering from severe depression.
But 5 years later Turtleboy is still here, and it’s in a much stronger position than it was in 2017, despite having only one blogger (me). For the first time I am truly free. I have a Facebook page with 38,000 followers, and a personal account with 27,600 followers, but I don’t really care about or need either of them. Facebook hides our posts from users and I’m sure they will eventually be removed. I’ll just make new ones when they do, and although I will always use Facebook I can survive without them.
Twitter is awesome now that Elon is in charge. For the first time I feel safe on a platform, and don’t have to self-censor. I highly suggest following @DoctorTurtleboy because I even have a nifty blue checkmark now.
I use Stripe to financial transactions, and although they’re pretty good about not banning people based on speech, I have other payment processors ready to go if that day comes.
I use GiveSendGo instead of GoFundMe, but I’m prepared to pass a hat around at organized events if necessary.
We built a donation platform called Turtle Chat that allows people to donate during Live Shows like they used to be able to on YouTube, except Google is no longer taking 30%.
I have a team of social media people who help run fan run Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts in case I lose mine.
I have not had a local advertiser in several years and I’m perfectly content with never having one again.
I invested and built my own streaming service, ad free platform, and subscription network (Turtle Club) that ensures the blog will always be self-sufficient. Turtle riders are the customers now instead of advertisers.
I hosted the first ever Turtle Rider Cup golf tournament in 2021, and have made dozens of public speaking appearances.
I wrote and self-published a book that has sold thousands of copies on Amazon, (I Am Turlteboy) which you can purchase here. Abandoning anonymity has been the most liberating experience, as I’m able to show my face during Live Shows, show in person and proudly say who I am and what I do at protests and events. I used to be scared to say I was Turtleboy, now I’m proud to say it.
We recently redid the whole website and encourage you to sign up to receive email notifications every time we publish a new blog. We are in the process of developing a TB Daily News app. My goal is to get readers to come to the website directly every day, instead of using platforms I have no control over (Facebook, YouTube) to share the content. Currently over 50% of daily users come to Turtleboy from a social media platform, but we’re working on lowering that number every day.
Our audience used to be primarily around the Worcester area. Now Boston is by far our biggest market, and more than half of our daily readers don’t even live in Massachusetts.
Turtleboy has gone nationwide.
This coming year my goal is attract new investors and hire bloggers from other parts of the country to write about news in their areas. The things we expose happening in New England happen everywhere, and they need to be exposed. I just need more talented writers to expose them.
So although 5 years ago today (yesterday as I finish this) was one of the worst days of my professional career, it turned out to be one of the best days. All of the setbacks taught me how to survive and become more self-sufficient, and I’m better and stronger for it. Facebook is dead now, and Twitter is thriving. But most importantly it doesn’t really matter because for the first time I am in complete control of Turtleboy’s destiny, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it.
Turtleboy is inevitable.