De-Platforming Free Speech
Facebook has banned several prominent voices under its convenient "hate speech" rubric.
Facebook is at it again, de-platforming several people the social-media thought police have dubbed “dangerous individuals and organizations.” And the Leftmedia is at it again, too, conflating bigotry, racism, and conspiracy theories with the Right.
First, the main story. Mark Zuckerberg and his censors, in their infinite and benevolent wisdom, have decided that certain voices have no place on Facebook or Instagram. Infowars founder Alex Jones and personality Paul Joseph Watson, provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, self-described investigative journalist Laura Loomer, and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan have been banned. Facebook insists it has “always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology.”
Regardless of what he espouses on a regular basis, Watson was exactly right when he said, “In an authoritarian society controlled by a handful of Silicon Valley giants, all dissent must be purged.” Indeed, Jones was already purged from Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, Spotify, Apple, and Twitter last year. To be sure, as we noted at the time, while Jones’s audience in particular tends to fall on the conservative end of the spectrum, Jones himself is a performance artist who’s closer to an anarchist. “He is NOT a Patriot of any order,” says Mark Alexander. “He is a con man who preys on insecurities of vulnerable people in the name of ‘patriotism.’”
That said, Facebook has no business banning him. Just because his speech isn’t worth much doesn’t mean he should be silenced as “hate speech.”
Which brings us to the almost comical media coverage of this ban. Numerous Leftmedia outlets — The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, The Atlantic, and BuzzFeed, to name a few — initially reported this as an action against “far-right leaders.” The Post’s original headline began, “Facebook bans far-right leaders including Louis Farrakhan…” until blowback forced editors to fix it. Each publication made minor edits, but The Atlantic and BuzzFeed still infer the “right wing” connection.
But to state the obvious, Farrakhan is anything but “far right.” In fact, he’s a leftist friend of dictators, a noxious anti-Semite, and a cult leader. No wonder Barack Obama and a litany of other Democrats would rather hide their associations with him.
Frankly, we think Jones is onto something when he says of Facebook, “They’re trying to hide their censorship of conservatives by mixing in Louis Farrakhan.” In other words, the only reason Farrakhan was banned is to serve as a fig leaf of objectivity for banning the others.
The real danger here is to free speech. Governments around the world are using terrorist attacks as a pretext for cracking down on speech. American leftists know it’s much harder to make the case for our government to silence people, so they’ve created a faux “moral” case for businesses to do their dirty work for them. Whether it’s social media, news “evaluation” organizations, or credit-card companies, leftists are finding creative ways to dismantle our constitutional rights by using private businesses as the enforcers.