‘Digital gulag’: Jeers and cheers after Facebook purge of Alex Jones, Infowars, Farrakhan & others
Bans of several anti-establishment figures on Facebook and Instagram has conservatives and moderates crying censorship and calling the measure “Orwellian" and a “digital gulag,” while left-wing activists demanded more, and faster.
Facebook announced on Thursday it was banning the accounts of InfoWars, Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, Milo Yiannopoulos, Laura Loomer, Paul Nehlen, and Louis Farrakhan, calling them “extremists” and “dangerous.” The ban applies to Facebook and Instagram, also owned by the Menlo Park-based company.
Anyone who shares any Infowars content on Facebook platforms is facing a potential ban as well, the company said.Also on rt.com Facebook and Instagram ban Infowars, Milo & Farrakhan as ‘dangerous’
Watson, an editor at Infowars, confirmed he had been banned, and said he was not given a reason, nor had he broken any rules.
“In an authoritarian society controlled by a handful of Silicon Valley giants, all dissent must be purged,” he tweeted. “They're now just banning people for wrongthink. There's no pretense of enforcing rules. If you challenge them, you're gone.”
The media was tipped off an hour before Facebook banned me. They're in cahoots.“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”.— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) May 2, 2019
Reacting to the ban, Loomer told a reporter that she lived in a “digital gulag.” Pointing out that she’s a Zionist, Loomer also objected to being purged by “Nazis in Silicon Valley” on Holocaust Remembrance Day and lumped in with Farrakhan and Nehlen, whom she described as “vile Jew haters.”
Laura Loomer texts me this after her social media bans today:"What’s the point of life anymore? ... I’d rather kill Myself than to let them take the victory lap."https://t.co/Z66gUcQLhTpic.twitter.com/w9LM0A1ZxG— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) May 2, 2019
“It’s disgusting. But I don’t expect anything else from these people who want me dead,” Loomer said, adding that she would rather kill herself than “let them take the victory lap.”
A number of prominent social media commentators – from all over the political spectrum – have have described the ban as arbitrary censorship and Facebook caving to demands from the far left.
Every conservative should be concerned about Alex Jones, @PrisonPlanet and others getting an arbitrary ban from Facebook's platforms. You're next.— Scott Greer (@ScottMGreer) May 2, 2019
they won't stop till everyone they dislike is dead pic.twitter.com/4U31WLJAxj— Nick Monroe (@nickmon1112) May 2, 2019
Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, Milo Yianappolous just unpersoned by Facebook in latest purge. Labeled "dangerous individuals." Banned for life. This censorship is beyond anti-American. It's truly Orwellian. Everyone should speak out against this.— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) May 2, 2019
This is going to dramatically escalate things.Everyone is insane https://t.co/DsCCYtup2i— Tim Pool (@Timcast) May 2, 2019
Facebook/Instagram just banned Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and far left anti-semite Louis Farrakhan.Even if you think what someone is saying is hateful, it is unconstitutional to silence them.Their ideas should be DEBATED, not SILENCED.— Mike Tokes (@MikeTokes) May 2, 2019
Others have appealed to President Donald Trump for help, arguing that social media platforms are targeting his supporters.
Censorship is entering a new, even more hysterical phase. Soon, there will be no right-wing activists or commentators left. Please help those who risked their jobs, livelihoods, reputations and thousands of hours of their personal time to get you elected @realDonaldTrump.— Brittany Pettibone (@BrittPettibone) May 2, 2019
The purge of Laura Loomer, Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, and Milo Yiannopoulous is a shocking escalation in the war over social media censorship.@RaheemKassam is on it at @HumanEvents.Enough games.#StopTheBias. REGULATE BIG TECH.https://t.co/TBIHfDarNI— Will Chamberlain 🇺🇸 (@willchamberlain) May 2, 2019
Almost everyone banned on Thursday had backed Trump to some extent since 2016, with the notable exception of Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader and prominent Black nationalist. His inclusion in the ban, along with mainstream media outlets labeling him “right wing,” has raised more than a few eyebrows.
What in the actual hell? Louis Farrakhan has never once been considered on “the right” - far or otherwise. @washingtonpost what are you doing?? You don’t even have to dig much to get a list of all the appearances he’s made w/lefties over the years. pic.twitter.com/mIPHHAewMp— Kira (@RealKiraDavis) May 2, 2019
Just curious, @washingtonpost since when did Louis Farrakahn become a "far right leader", after all, that was Barack Obama posing 4 pictures & photo-ops with him, not conservatives. https://t.co/cjNf3WptPZ— Jim McLaughlin (@JMcLaughlinSTK) May 2, 2019
On the other side, several Democrats and prominent left-wing activists cheered the ban but also chided Facebook for taking too long, and demanded social media platforms do even more to police what they called “hate speech,” defined loosely as anything they might disagree with.
Pretty sure it was the conspiracy theories, not being "conservative," that got you banned buddy https://t.co/Us0OfEozLC— Jared Holt (@jaredlholt) May 2, 2019
Facebook permanently bans Alex Jones just 7 years after he claimed Sandy Hook was a hoax. Impressive. https://t.co/ABpvSgDgTN— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) May 2, 2019
Facebook just announced they are finally banning Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos and other racist conspiracy theorists. Let’s not forget that a mere 10 months ago, they were defending these same people’s right to publish their hateful disinformation and harass Sandy Hook families. https://t.co/68dnImTIWd— Christopher Wylie 🏳️🌈 (@chrisinsilico) May 2, 2019
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