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Facebook violates free speech as it bans 'dangerous' influencers

May 3, 2019 1:51 P.M. (Updated: May 5, 2019 12:06 P.M.)
SAN FRANCISCO (Ma’an) -- Facebook banned Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones, and others from its main service and from Instagram, for “dangerous behavior” and violation of the company's ban against hate and violence, on Thursday.

Facebook said that it has also banned social media influences such as, Paul Nehlen, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, and Laura Loomer, along with Jones' conspiracy website, Infowars.

Many of the influencers impacted by the ban have been banned already from other platforms, including Yiannopoulos who was banned from Twitter in 2016.

In addition, Facebook previously banned Jones from its flagship service, but not Instagram, while Loomer was banned from Twitter in 2018 for "spreading misinformation" about American Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar.

For several years, social media companies have been under pressure from civil rights groups to enforce their policies on hate speech. However, free speech advocates warned that the company’s content removals could backfire in unexpected ways.

In March, American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney, Vera Eidelman, said in a statement, "Every time Facebook makes the choice to remove content, a single company is exercising an unchecked power to silence individuals and remove them from what has become an indispensable platform for the speech of billions.”

Facebook said in a statement that the newly banned accounts violated its policy “against dangerous individuals and organizations" and that it has "always banned" individuals or groups that proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence, regardless of political ideology.

One of the banned influencers, Paul Joseph Watson, published a video on Youtube regarding the Facebook ban, saying, “I gave you a little bit too much truth so now I must be silenced.”

He stressed the ban was “totally political,” noting “this is nothing less than election meddling. Everyone Facebook has banned was instrumental in getting Donald Trump elected. This is a political purge.”

Watson added, “This has nothing to do with hate.”

Many social media users have called the Facebook ban “media silencing” as it is silencing many influencers around the world from free speech and from expressing their opinion regarding political and religious issues.

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