Trump defends Facebook banned ‘extremists,’ attacks ‘radical left-wing’ media
How was your morning? President Donald Trump started his day by retweeting a barrage of content from Paul Joseph Watson – banned from Facebook for alleged “extremist” content, and slating the “radical left wing media.”
After Facebook and subsidiary Instagram banned Watson – alongside a host of right-wing and conservative voices – on Thursday, President Trump kept quiet until Friday, when he took to Twitter to decry the censorship of conservatives online. “This is the United States of America,” he wrote, “and we have what’s known as FREEDOM OF SPEECH!”
Trump kept up the Twitter offensive on Saturday, tweeting an InfoWars clip featuring black Trump supporters declaring their love and support for the president. As well as banning InfoWars and its host Alex Jones, Facebook announced on Thursday it would ban users posting InfoWars content.
I love it when a plan comes together! pic.twitter.com/MCRKROFOkW— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) May 4, 2019
The president went on to retweet content from InfoWars’ Paul Joseph Watson – a conservative vlogger who rails against political correctness and vehemently denies the “extremist” label.
Trump also broadcast a clip from an account named ‘Deep State Exposed’ featuring an Islamic preacher declaring his desire to “conquer America,” and a warning from Rebel Media’s Lauren Southern that establishment conservatives will be the next voices silenced on social media.
Trump finished off his Saturday tweetstorm with a post of his own, wondering why the “Radical Left” New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC are “allowed to be on Twitter and Facebook” after pushing the “Russia Collusion Delusion” story for two years.
When will the Radical Left Wing Media apologize to me for knowingly getting the Russia Collusion Delusion story so wrong? The real story is about to happen! Why is @nytimes, @washingtonpost, @CNN, @MSNBC allowed to be on Twitter & Facebook. Much of what they do is FAKE NEWS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 4, 2019
Some proponents of Facebook’s recent purge have argued that as a private company, Facebook can ban whoever it wants from using its services. The ensuing argument has centered around whether Facebook is defined as a ‘publisher’ or a ‘platform,’ with different legal protections afforded to speech depending on the definition.Also on rt.com Facebook ban on Alex Jones and others is a form of modern-day book burning
A platform exists to facilitate speech, and is not responsible for the content posted. A publisher curates and distributes content, and is therefore responsible. Facebook has always presented itself as a platform, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Congress last year that his company is ‘responsible for the content” posted, a step towards the ‘publisher’ role.
Trump appeared to side with the ‘platform’ argument on Saturday, retweeting a post from Daily Wire co-founder Jeremy Boreing, in which Boreing suggests that as a platform, Facebook can’t simply “ban anyone for any reason.”
It is unclear what Trump actually intends to do about the “censorship of American citizens” he decried on Twitter. However, his recent executive order protecting free speech on college campuses could serve as a template.
A court decision last year forbade Trump from blocking critics on Twitter, describing his feed as a “designated public forum.” Moving forward, Trump could potentially use the same argument against social media sites that ban conservatives, although that would involve expanding the definition of “public forum” to cover the platform as a whole, and not just individual feeds.
For now, the culture war rages on Twitter.
Like this story? Share it with a friend!