Liberal Twitter in free speech conundrum after Facebook bans Jones, Yiannopoulos and Farrakhan
After Facebook and Instagram announced they were not only banning controversial figures like Jones, Yiannopoulos and Farrakhan, but also anyone who reposted content from Jones’ Infowars and removing any groups or events that promoted any of the blacklisted “extremists,” citing the platform’s policy on “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations,” Twitter erupted in…applause?
Wow... Did you see what Milo, Alex Jones, and Farrakahn posted on Instagram?No. No, you did not. 😂— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) May 2, 2019
Facebook claims the blacklisted users violated its policy on “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations,” which covers “terrorist activity, organized hate, mass or serial murder, human trafficking, and organized violence or criminal activity” and says its policies have not changed. Some on Twitter actually claimed the censorship hadn’t gone far enough, calling for Twitter to follow Facebook’s lead and even suggesting more names for the blacklist.
A very late step in the right direction. A proper step in the right direction would be drone striking the devices which are used to share the falsehoods these far-right propagandists concoct.— Veridis Quo 🏴☠️ (@VERlDlS) May 2, 2019
Others warned that the bans wouldn’t stop with easy targets like Jones and Laura Loomer, a lesson we should have learned the last time Facebook engaged in mass ideological deplatforming in 2018.
Another step closer to 1984.Authoritarian, anti #FreePress, anti democracy, Neocon Fascist, Facebook bans Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos & other people it doesn't like.First they came for the communists......#DeleteFacebookpic.twitter.com/6vjp4UTM1f— Ian56 (@Ian56789) May 2, 2019
Banning people because they say or think “dangerous” things is always wrong. No matter who they are. #censorship is immoral, and puts everyone’s rights at risk.Don’t forget that #Corbin and #Bernie have been described as “dangerous” too. https://t.co/scPLBZXLn3— OffGuardian (@OffGuardian0) May 2, 2019
I'm good with this but I worry about where they will draw the line??I may be crazy but isn't it useful to know what your enemies are doing??Just a thought, I worry about censorship, it can work both ways??Modern dilemma 🤔— Patty Van Zant (@liberaltlou) May 2, 2019
The “but it’s a private company” argument was dutifully trotted out.
theres no part of the first amendment that says you have to give an elevated media platform to conspiracy theorists, cranks, and racists. farrakhan, alex jones, and the rest have every right to their views. but theres no obligation to give them a bullhorn to spew it out.— Oliver Willis (@owillis) May 2, 2019
For those professing to believe in freedom and capitalism, the response to Facebook and Instagram banning certain people today should be "Okay, Facebook owns the things, they can do what they want."— David Law (@davidkeithlaw) May 2, 2019
It makes me uneasy but Facebook is a private company. And what was their alternative? Continue to give a platform to Alex Jones, a guy who spews the worst kind of lies, divisiveness & hate? The Newtown parents are crisis actors? Come on! /1— John Creighton (@jwcreighton3) May 2, 2019
…and shot down by conservatives, for a change.
Honest question... how can you put all your faith in certain companies to make decisions on what is or isn't racist when our country's leading politicians aren't even able to make that distinction? https://t.co/ZMC6Enl7j4— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) May 2, 2019
The problem always eventually becomes who gets to decide what is "racist" or "dangerous". Some things seem obvious, but in this day and age it's too arbitrary a standard to leave to other people. The best remedy is to let the bad ideas be heard & roundly mocked.— Kira (@RealKiraDavis) May 2, 2019
“There is no First Amendment protection, because they are not the government, but absent legislation, absent something that is created by the courts or by the legislature or congress, I submit that one day we should treat these platforms as utilities,” legal analyst Lionel told RT, weighing in on the controversy. “It’s their terms of service, and we need legislation and courts to intervene.”
Much was made of the media’s categorization of Farrakhan as “far-right,” as if that would make the banning morally acceptable, with some sarcastically weighing in to congratulate Facebook on its weaponization of Farrakhan to silence criticism from the right.
Alt-Right-adjacent ghouls freaked out that Farrakhan was finally correctly labeled as a figure on the right, and Wapo caved, shameful. pic.twitter.com/EFGQVMWzEP— Eli Valley (@elivalley) May 2, 2019
Not sure it needed a correction tbh - he's not a white nationalist (obviously!) but Farrakhan is pretty far-right on most issues - and he's also heaped praise on Trump too:https://t.co/6mTK7oVwrbhttps://t.co/akfFLAJnfw— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) May 2, 2019
the inclusion of farrakhan on this list is absolutely meant to mitigate any fallout from conservatives claiming they're feeling unfairly targeted from this ban (despite dems having denounced LF rhetoric)a very facebook move— rat king (@MikeIsaac) May 2, 2019
And as some activists found out, even talking about the ban on Facebook leads to a Big-Brotheresque “the people who manage this Page will review your post.”
So I just tried to post my latest @WeAreChangeNYC video with @Lukewearechange about the banning of Alex Jones and others on Facebook to our @facebook page, and this happened... pic.twitter.com/kqlm8DmLWe— Jason Bermas (@JasonBermas) May 2, 2019
Facebook has banned Alex Jones from its platform before, an unprecedented move when it happened last year that was followed with a wave of deplatformings that included several popular progressive pages. Those who refuse to learn from history are, apparently, condemned to repeat it.
6 months ago: "it's just Alex Jones getting banned. This is fine."Today: "it's just a political party polling at 10% getting banned. This is fine."https://t.co/JU5JmBcHc6— Gab.com💬Dissenter.com (@getongab) April 26, 2019
I’m fully creeped out by journalists cheering censorship.— Bridget Phetasy (@BridgetPhetasy) May 2, 2019
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