After promising to crack down on content deemed hateful, Facebook has taken its censorship efforts to the next level, and it appears that their latest endeavor might just be the beginning of a wider campaign to silence certain political views. This is not surprising given the company’s recent vow to remove posts and images that promote white supremacy. But the term white supremacy is not as well-defined as it used to be, with accusations of Nazism, racism and hateful attitudes flying fast and loose in today’s public discourse.
What will this trend mean for the future? If Facebook and other social media platforms decide to ramp up their censorship, what consequences will arise?
Facebook Bans Prominent Conservatives
Facebook has permanently banned controversial figures including Louis Farrakhan, Infowars host Alex Jones, right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, and independent journalist Laura Loomer for being “dangerous.” Jones had been removed from the platform previously, but this time, it’s different.
The social media giant hasn’t just barred these individuals; it has removed fan pages and groups connected to them. “We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” Facebook said in a written statement. “The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.”
Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, said: “The reality is, people are getting killed. There are mass shootings and mass murders that are clearly being connected to ideas like white genocide, which are fueling radicalization.”
Not surprisingly, the progressive left lauded Facebook’s decision. The Washington Post reported on the matter in its typical deceptive manner. Initially, the newspaper attempted to cast Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan as a far-right figure. Amazingly, they appeared to believe that their readers would actually fall for that “mistake.” They later corrected the “error” and referred to him as an anti-Semite.
Facebook has enacted a virtual scorched earth policy against conservative figures, and nobody should be fooled by their inclusion of Farrakhan – who is no right-winger – in their hit list. Indeed, he is the only left-leaning person being removed from the platform. Due to his history of anti-Semitism, he makes the perfect sacrificial lamb to help keep up the appearance social media providers are not just targeting conservatives. Nice try, WaPo.
Neither Facebook nor Carusone bothered to explain how the recently-banned individuals promoted white supremacy because, of course, many of them didn’t. After all, being a progressive leftist with power means never having to explain one’s race-baiting. But the question is: If Facebook continues along this path, what kind of ramifications will there be?
Is Regulation the Answer?
When Facebook – along with several other social media platforms – removed Alex Jones in 2018, it ignited debate among conservatives, libertarians, and others who value free speech. Should the government get involved? Or will state interference just make the problem worse? Is it realistic that the free market can address this problem given the fact that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have such a dominant hold on the social media space?
Now that Facebook has taken such brazen action against the right, these questions have arisen once again. But with Congress mulling potential regulation, those who oppose Silicon Valley’s censorious practices should be careful what they wish for. If the state begins regulating social media, it may not provide the results for which many have hoped, over the long term.
After the government cracks down on social media, what happens when the Democrats regain power? Can the public trust that they will not use the state to further silence conservatives? Of course not. Right-leaning individuals wish for government involvement to ensure fairness, but the progressive left will almost certainly use it to seize more influence. Leftists have shown that they have no problem using government resources to target individuals with whom they disagree.
Conservatives must be careful about handing control of social media to the state. If not, they might live to regret their decision.
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