What do you do when you're the owner of a marginally popular weather page on Facebook, you and your brother have a history of threatening people, and they finally shut down your page? You threaten Facebook, of course!
Martin says that this isn't his first rodeo with Facebook. Several months ago, he went to Facebook's campus only to be greeted by police officers after they were tipped off that the confrontation might turn violent.
By this point, you're probably asking who the hell is Kevin Martin?
Kevin Martin is the anatomical equivalent of the weather community's stony gallbladder. A thirty-something southern California man armed with little but a collection of fedoras, a first-grade-level understanding of the weather, and a marginal following of internet outcasts, he thrives on creating and spreading false weather information on Facebook for profit.
Kevin is the (former) proprietor of several weather websites including "The Weather Space" and "Southern California Weather Authority." Through the hard work of spending hundreds of dollars in advertising, his pages on Facebook amassed tens of thousands of followers, and his posts predicting imminent death and doom spread far and wide thanks to thousands of Facebook users with the collective IQ of a Chiclet.
These hoaxes are hell for actual meteorologists. The problem came to a head earlier this year when a constant stream of posts predicted blizzards of historic proportions ripping through vast swaths of the country. Hundreds of thousands of Facebook users saw these posts, and local meteorologists were inundated with questions asking why they weren't also predicting these mammoth snowstorms.
When the storm didn't come to fruition, Martin would scrub any evidence of his failed forecast (but successful hoax) and meteorologists would take the brunt of public frustration that predictions they didn't make didn't come true.
Towards the end of February, several websites pushed back against Kevin Martin and his winter storm nonsense, including Mediaite ("Share This Viral Weather Hoax About the Weather or You Will Die") and one written by me over at DailyKos.
Possessing an apparent disposition to threats and legal intimidation, the mere mention of his name is dangerous for bloggers and meteorologists alike. The other Martin sibling Brian has a reputation for issuing threats on behalf of his firebrand brother. After I wrote the post mentioned above, I found myself on the receiving end of the death threats sent to me through Facebook:
In addition to issuing threats, Martin's website once featured a fabricated, thoroughly-libelous article accusing Oklahoma City meteorologist Aaron Tuttle of being a child molester after Tuttle took to his own Facebook page to say that The Weather Space was "run by a nut job that is not even a meteorologist, but he likes to pretend to be."
Martin threatened to write similar libelous posts about the administrators of RationalWiki, whose website hosts a page dedicated to collecting Martin's finest internet misdeeds.
While the threats have included mentions of violence in the past, it's Kevin Martin's litigation that makes him fun to deal with.
In June 2011, the National Weather Service had to issue a public statement denouncing Kevin Martin and his website after his style of hype became an issue for the government's weather agency. Martin to this day issues his own severe thunderstorm and tornado watches, calling them "official," and people actually believe him because they are almost identical in format and wording to the official products issued by the National Weather Service.
Here's the full text of the statement issued by the National Weather Service, with emphasis added:
SUBJECT: Clarification on Sources of Weather Information
NWS, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has no association with the Southern California Weather Authority or with Mr. Kevin Martin or any other staff of the Southern California Weather Authority.
Weather forecast and warning products developed and distributed by Mr. Martin or the Southern California Weather Authority may have formatting or contain content that could visually be confused with that of the National Weather Service. Regardless of formatting or content, Mr. Martin's weather products have no connection with nor are they the products of the National Weather Service.
NWS is the sole official voice of the U.S. Government for warnings of hazardous weather, including tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms, floods and others. NWS encourages the media and others to distribute NWS warnings and other hazardous weather products widely to aid public safety.
NWS also respects the rights of individuals, companies, and other organizations to produce weather information of their own and to use NWS information to help them do so, including those who choose to produce weather information regarding weather hazards; however, it is important to distinguish official products that are produced and issued by the National Weather Service from weather information produced by others that is NOT produced by NWS. It is especially important to avoid any confusion between NWS warnings and those that might be produced by others.
Shortly after the NWS issued that statement, Kevin Martin filed a handwritten lawsuit against NOAA. No, really, he wrote it by hand.
This background leads us to today. In a public letter published on "alternative news" (read: conspiracy theory) website Before It's News, Kevin Martin accuses Facebook of several grievances against him and his business associates.
What Facebook Did To Us:
1. In November of 2013 Facebook shutdown our pages totaling over 100,000 likes with no reason as to why and no appeal to be given.
2. We paid them hundreds of dollars in Facebook Ads only to be shutdown a short time later and have our money taken.
3. I announced I was going to their HQ to my email list of over 15,000 people and a troll/hater called Menlo Park PD up to tell them I was going there to shoot the campus up. Upon arriving I was greeted in force by the police and told to leave and never come back.
4. Later, Joshua Young's account was disabled for no reason at all by Facebook. Joshua had friends and family, some he may never get a hold of again. Everytime he tries to get back on Facebook with a new account it's disabled. Facebook is not allowing him back on and not stating why. Likely it is because he is part of the former TheWeatherSpace.com.
5. Today, Facebook shuts down any pages we develop for our weather forecast business for our thousands of viewers or want this available to them via Facebook. Either Facebook is doing it, or Facebook has a major security flow where someone that hates us is filing false reports, getting our pages off and accounts removed. We know that Facebook IS NOT HELPING us and that I've been an advertiser (I pay you guys money) for many months so this is TERRIBLE BUSINESS ETHIC.
The letter goes on to mention that one of his business associates has both Asperger's Syndrome and stage four cancer, which only affords him another six to twelve months of life. Martin also mentions that he himself has autism, a point that his supporters often use to defend Martin against criticism of his behavior. He also says that his autism "allows him to forecast and excel in that weather forecasting ability," for what it's worth.
The list of things that will happen to Facebook if they refuse to acquiesce to his demands are quite...something:
If You Do Not Want To Work Things Out:
1. Being what me or my team does is not harmless to you or anyone if back on Facebook, helping resolve this should not be an issue nor will it hurt your company.
2. Not helping will hurt your company because I have at my disposal alternative news sites with hundreds of thousands of people a day willing to read what you did wrong and many media outlets waiting for the call to interview me in front of your campus.
3. FACEBOOK WILL look bad to all with cancer, autism, asperger's syndrome, and furthermore business, by stealing money from me for Facebook Ads only to shut my pages down and not refund me. I pay for likes, what is my money going to do for me when I can't utilize those likes paid for?
4. The BBB will be contacted about your advertising techniques and because I paid money to Facebook, the report will be filed with the BBB and deter others from buying ads from you.
He also includes a section in the unlikely event that Facebook's security guards refuse to let Martin's men in beyond the front gate:
IF YOU ARE A SECURITY GUARD READING THIS:
1. You need to give this to someone upstairs that is in charge of user operations on Facebook that can help because …
2. YOU ARE NOT in the position to say yes or no to what I am saying on this letter given to you.
3. You are NOT in the position to move the company into a volitle position as I'm going to do today with media and the people.
4. You can tell Josh and Kyle to leave, but I assure you this will be a mistake as what I said above about the livestream, media, megaphone, stories to hundreds of thousands of people, and even affecting your future advertisers by me detering them from buying from you. Do not be the security guard that makes Facebook look bad in the public eye.
5. This Is Being Recorded From When Joshua and Kyle Stepped In To What You Do From Here On Out So The People Know How You Handle Customers Of Your Site. Since we paid for ads, we are customers looking for answers and resolve.
Lastly, Martin makes sure that Facebook execs know where to find him if they wish to settle this dire matter:
I am on standby outside and my staff inside that you got this from are also on standby. I'd like to resolve this peacefully, legally, and morally correct on all sides. I am willing to have them or you to come get me on the corner of Willow Road and The Highway adjacent to your campus on the bike path sidewalk. We then can all sit down like mature adults and work this out peacefully.
And for effect, he throws in this disclaimer to try to cover his ass in case they take the letter as a threat:
Disclaimer: This is not extortion. This is free speech and right to protest on public grounds to show how a company treats customers, people with cancer, and people with mental disorders whom already have social issues only to be kicked from a social network where that may be the only place they can meet people without having to go in large crowds or forced in person to meet.
Thank you for reading this,
The choice is now yours.
We'll see what happens. If Menlo Park goes on lockdown, we know why.