As Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau imposed strict emergency measures intended to quell anti-mandate trucker protests late Monday, social media platforms and online services have previously taken steps to disrupt the efforts of protest organizers.
Crowdfunding service GoFundMe shut down the “Freedom Convoy 2022” fundraiser, which had raised over $9 million to support truckers and individuals protesting Canada’s vaccine mandates and COVID-19 restrictions, on Feb. 4, citing “police reports of violence and unlawful activity” as justification for its decision. The company first planned to distribute the money to charities if donors did not claim refunds, but later elected to automatically refund the money after a torrent of criticism. (RELATED: Justin Trudeau Invokes ‘Emergencies Act’ In Unprecedented Move)
GoFundMe’s actions spawned several investigations by state attorneys general as well as calls for Federal Trade Commission (FTC) oversight by lawmakers.
Facebook removed a group of over 100,000 users on Feb. 1 that was attempting to organize an American counterpart to Canada’s Freedom Convoy. Meta suspended the personal accounts of some of the organizers, mostly truck drivers who intended to organize fellow truckers to protest in Washington, D.C.
A spokesperson for Facebook parent company Meta told Fox News that the group violated company policies regarding the QAnon conspiracy theory, an allegation denied by organizers of the group. (RELATED: Unvaccinated Must Be ‘Accompanied At All Times’ While Shopping At Big Box Stores, Canadian Health Ministry Says)
“None of us had any of that stuff,” Mike Landis, a trucker and organizer of the group, told the Daily Caller. “That’s an outright lie … could there have been people that posted something from that in the group possibly? Yeah, because there are so many people posting stuff it was hard to keep up with.”
Twitter deleted the official account of the Canadian Freedom Convoy on Feb. 8, Newsweek reported. A Twitter spokesperson told Newsweek the account was deleted for “ban evasion.”
The social media company who also banned the account of Gord Magill, a truck driver and prominent member of the Freedom Convoy who has made a number of media appearances, on Feb. 12. Magill’s ban followed an appearance on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” on Feb. 11 in which he voiced his opposition to the Canadian government’s response to the trucker protests.
“All across the economy, we’re affecting it, and that is what they’re afraid of,” Magill said. “They’re afraid of a legitimate, spontaneously organized workers’ uprising that has more power than they do.”
Toronto-Dominion (TD) Bank froze the accounts of two individuals involved with the Freedom Convoy protests, the company announced on Feb. 12, after an Ontario court issued an order preventing crowdfunding site GiveSendGo from disbursing donations it had received to support the truckers.
‘TD has asked the court to accept the funds, which were raised through crowdfunding and deposited into personal accounts at TD, so they may be managed and distributed in accordance with the intentions of the donors,” a TD spokeswoman told the Daily Mail.
The Canadian government announced Monday that it would direct banks to freeze the accounts of Freedom Convoy protesters.
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