‘We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology…’
“Individuals and organizations who spread hate, or attack or call for the exclusion of others on the basis of who they are, have no place on Facebook,” a spokeswoman said.
Facebook—which also owns the platforms Instagram and WhatsApp—lately has been facing greater heat than ever on Capitol Hill as the pressure mounts to prevent further cyber-attacks in the 2020 U.S. election.
It also faces a broader global demands to stem a rash of violent terrorist attacks spreading in places like New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
Instead of addressing rational security measures, however, the social-media megalith has chosen to fall back on its old standby of scapegoating—and then censoring—conservative groups, who often are castigated despite—or because of—their condemnation of violent radicalism.
Adding insult to injury, while banning right-wing truth-to-power bastions like Jones and Yiannopoulos—who have answered and taken accountability for their past misstatements and misjudgments—Facebook lumped them in with virulent and unabashed anti-Semitic hatemonger Farrakhan.
In doing so, they created a false equivalency—giving them license to further censor and blacklist rational conservative speech at their own warped discretion, while deceptively attempting to defuse the frequent bias criticisms that have led to sharp declines in the Facebook’s appeal and influence.
Facebook’s ‘Hate’ Double-Standard
Facebook claimed that all those being banned had violated its policy forbidding “terrorist activity, organized hate, mass or serial murder, human trafficking or organized violence or criminal activity.”
By focusing on Farrakhan, a prominent left-wing individual who has likened the Jewish people to “termites” and helped to usher in an alarming wave of anti-Semitic support on the far Left, it deflected from having to justify its other, more dubious, censorship efforts.
Several social-media networks drew criticism last year for controversial decisions to ban or suspend Jones. Best known for calling the 9/11 attacks an inside job and for describing the Sandy Hook school massacre as a hoax, Jones has since repudiated those comments.
Yiannopoulos—a gay, British-born, alt-right activist—has long chafed the Left for undermining its narrative of an intersectional, globalist coalition united against the ‘xenophobic’ Right. This has resulted in violence—not from his supporters, but from the deranged Antifa activists demonstrating against him, most notably during a scheduled appearance at the University of California, Berkeley.
The former Breitbart editor took a major hit after comments of his surfaced that appeared to support inappropriate sexual relationships with minors—but he, also, has attempted to clarify the out-of-context remarks while unequivocally condemning pedophilia.
More recently, Yiannopoulos said attacks like the New Zealand massacre happen because “the establishment panders to and mollycoddles extremist leftism and barbaric alien religious cultures.”
The gunman who killed 49 Muslim worshipers at two Christchuch mosques left a manifesto in which he expressed his disdain for President Donald Trump’s politics while saying he valued Trump’s symbolic utility as a lightning rod and scapegoat for violent extremism.
After Australia banned him for his remarks, Yiannopoulos wrote: “I explicitly denounced violence. I said that we on the Right are constantly disavowing racists. I pointed out the inconvenient fact that it is the Leftists committing the majority of political violence. And I criticized the establishment for pandering to Islamic fundamentalism. So Australia banned me again.”
Others blocked Thursday from Facebook and Instagram were Paul Nehlen, a political candidate espousing white supremacist views; and alleged conspiracy theorists Paul Joseph Watson and Laura Loomer.
Watson notably called into doubt the pervading narrative that Russia’s cyber-attacks on the U.S. during the 2016 election were widespread, as conspiratorial mainstream Democrats long claimed based on talking points constructed by the Hillary Clinton campaign to explain her election loss.
Facebook also last month banned various right-wing British groups—including the English Defense League, Knights Templar International, Britain First the British National Party and the National Front for promoting hate and violence.
“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” Facebook said in a statement.
Such bans typically include prohibiting others at the social network from using the platform to post praise or support from those no longer welcomed.
A Win for Leftist Extremism
Tellingly, Media Matters for America, a leftist propaganda group that has drawn headlines for its own advocacy of violence and anti-conservative hate speech, celebrated the move as a win for its radical agenda.
Cristina Lopez G., Media Matters’s deputy director for extremism, praised the bans for helping limit the spread of right-wing ideology.
“Today’s announcement from Facebook is a step in the right direction,” Lopez said.
But after recent whistleblower leaks shed light on the internal machinations and deliberations of pro-leftist tech giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google, the anti-conservative bias rampant in Silicon Valley is all but a foregone conclusion.
President Donald Trump has often spoken out against social media platforms of discriminating against users with right-wing views.
“Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices,” Trump said in a tweet after Jones was curbed at Facebook and Spotify last year.
While Farrakhan was among the more prominent and egregious examples long cited as evidence of the double-standard, other left-wing groups supporting violent extremism—such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter—continue to espouse their views with impunity.
Increasingly problematic has been the use of Islamophobia as a shield to espouse both anti-Semitic and pro-jihadist views while demanding protections and claiming victimhood when criticized.
Yiannopoulos ‘s criticisms of Muslim extremism in the wake of the mosque shootings offered one prominent example, but other critics of Islamic radicalism fear that the company is merely testing the waters, and that—following the lead of corrupt, hatemongering anti-Right groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center—it may soon branch out into de-platforming any who have the audacity to challenge the “wrong” type of hate speech.
Liberty Headlines’ Ben Sellers contributed to this report.
© Agence France-Presse