Facebook and Instagram de-platformed several notable “far right” figures and one left-wing anti-Semite on Thursday, which met opposition from several conservatives and free speech advocates on Twitter.
The platforms banished Milo Yiannopoulos, Laura Loomer, Paul Nehlen, Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson and anything connected to Jones’ website Infowars.
“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” Facebook told CNN Business via statement. “The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.” Facebook also labeled the individuals “dangerous.” (RELATED: WaPo And Atlantic Scramble After Labeling Farrakhan ‘Far Right’)
Several prominent conservatives and free speech advocates, however, disagreed with the concept of a social media company being allowed to regulate speech on its platforms.
Human Events editor-in-chief Raheem Kassam invoked some history as he called the purge “day of the long knives.”
Day of the Long Knives: Facebook nixes @PrisonPlanet, Alex Jones, Milo, Laura Loomer, and @LouisFarrakhan (the latter being a sop to “prove” its not right/left bias) >> https://t.co/sAfPteDEvB
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) May 2, 2019
Former California congressional candidate Omar Navarro asked, “What happened to tolerance?”
Can’t believe Laura Loomer is completely banned from all social media websites. What happened to tolerance?
— Omar Navarro (@RealOmarNavarro) May 2, 2019
Scott Presler noted the irony of various antifa groups still up.
Facebook & Instagram banned
Alex Jones, Laura Loomer, Paul Nehlen, Paul Joseph Watson, Milo Yiannopoulos, & Louis Farrakhan from their platforms.
They’ve “violated policies against dangerous individuals and organizations,”
meanwhile, Antifa groups are still up.
— #ThePersistence (@ScottPresler) May 2, 2019
There were plenty more who echoed the message that, while everyone won’t always agree, everyone should have the right to be heard.
Facebook has officially announced the permanent suspension of Laura Loomer, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Paul Joseph Watson.
Our right to freedom of speech shouldn’t end where your feelings begin!
— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) May 2, 2019
Facebook/Instagram just banned Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and far left anti-semite Louis Farrakhan.
Even if you think what someone is saying is hateful, it is unconstitutional to silence them.
Their ideas should be DEBATED, not SILENCED.
— Mike Tokes (@MikeTokes) May 2, 2019
None of the people banned by Facebook today needed to be silenced. That includes Farrakhan. Seeing some of the dumber members of the right celebrating his ban… but you’re either for free speech or against it. That includes people you hate.
— Cassandra Fairbanks (@CassandraRules) May 2, 2019
Conservatives must take note that Facebook is now banning right of center journalists for no reason. Paul Joseph Watson is a brilliant commentator and his ban is an outrage against free speech. @PrisonPlanet @parscale @DonaldJTrumpJr @DanScavino @MattWolking
— Emerald Robinson (@EmeraldRobinson) May 2, 2019
Make no mistake: Facebook just made a **partisan, ideological** effort to shape global discourse on its platform 18 months before the 2020 election. If there was good faith in this, we would see Facebook’s logic and rules more evenly applied across the political spectrum.
— Jeff Giesea???? (@jeffgiesea) May 2, 2019
@facebook I disagree with these three almost as much as I do @LouisFarrakhan. And I strongly disagree with any of these voices being silenced including LF. This is unAmerican. #morevoicesnotless #FreedomOfSpeech #orwellatfacebook https://t.co/xds8MWEK7O
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) May 2, 2019
This image fantasizing about Trump’s death was posted by ‘Occupy Democrats’ Facebook page this week.
The page has +7 million followers.@facebook rewarded this Presidential death fantasy porn from @OccupyDemocrats with tens of millions of engagements.
Where is their ban, I wonder pic.twitter.com/WF5lyEznng
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) May 2, 2019
Facebook’s conflation of “violence” and “hate” in its statement regarding the bans on Jones, Watson, Yiannopoulos and Farrakhan, among others, is a problem. pic.twitter.com/crY8nrwmKy
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 2, 2019
This is the key point. Facebook will ban you for sharing Infowars links now, unless you’re condemning them.
It is openly punishing and rewarding users for their political opinions now.
This is a formula for censoring not just websites and personalities, but their supporters too https://t.co/pNjGlbYAt9
— Allum Bokhari (@LibertarianBlue) May 2, 2019
Facebook is begging for regulation and it is time that it comes. They are Big Brother. It is 1984. And if we stand by and allow it free speech is going to be a memory.
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) May 2, 2019