by WorldTribune Staff, August 7, 2018
The banning of InfoWars chief Alex Jones from Facebook, Apple and Spotify is only one of many recent instances of tech giants and social media platforms censoring conservative voices, reports said.
One such voice is a woman running for Congress who detailed her family’s survival in Cambodia under the genocidal communist Khmer Rouge.
Jones wrote on Twitter, a platform he had yet to be banned from: “We’ve been banned completely on Facebook, Apple, & Spotify. What conservative news outlet will be next?”
- On Aug. 6, Twitter suspended the accounts of several Libertarian figures, including the Ron Paul Institute director.
- Facebook banned a campaign video by California Republican congressional candidate Elizabeth Heng which highlighted communist crimes that led her family to flee Cambodia. On Aug. 7, Facebook reinstated Heng’s account. ““Upon further review, it is clear the video contains historical imagery relevant to the candidate’s story,” a spokesperson told The Washington Times.
- British activist Tommy Robinson had his Instagram account temporarily banned.
Zero Hedge reported that Twitter suspended the editorial director of antiwar.com Scott Horton, former State Department employee Peter Van Buren, and Dan McAdams, the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute.
Horton said he was reportedly disciplined for the use of “improper language” against journalist Jonathan M. Katz, while McAdams was suspended for retweeting him. Past tweets in both accounts were available to the public at the time of the writing, unlike the account of Van Buren, which was fully suspended, the report said.
According to TargetLiberty, Horton and McAdams fell victim to Twitter’s suspension algorithm after objecting to Katz’s quarrel with Van Buren over an earlier interview.
The suspensions occurred just days after black conservative Candace Owens had her Twitter account suspended for highlighting the algorithmic hypocrisy of Twitter by replacing the word “white” with “Jewish” in a series of tweets modeled on those by New York Times editor Sarah Jeong.
Heng, who is running for California’s 16th congressional district seat, said Facebook banned a campaign video she made which referenced her parent’s escape from mass-murder by the Khmer Rouge communists in the 1970s.
According to the Christian Post, Facebook deemed the video to be “shocking, disrespectful or sensational,” and refused to allow her to run the video as an ad on the platform.
“It is unbelievable that Facebook could have such blatant disregard for the history that so many people, including my own parents, have lived through,” Heng said in a statement. “I’m sure it is shocking for some people to hear about this kind of injustice, but this is reality. This is why I wake up every single day with the fight and determination to have a voice and make a difference in my community.”
“Neither Facebook nor any other company in the tech industry get to silence our stories,” she continued. “We’ve seen it over and over again with Republican candidates and organizations.”
Facebook has censored political ads before, having blocked an ad by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican.
In the campaign ad, Blackburn touted her pro-life beliefs and her opposition to selling baby parts.
Breitbart News obtained exclusive emails that documented how the social media giant believed that the ad was “inflammatory.”
A Twitter representative told a social media team regarding the ad, “Yes – it appears that the line in this video specific to ‘stopped the sale of baby body parts’ has been deemed an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction. If this is omitted from the video it will be permitted to serve.”
Robinson, who was recently released from prison after being held on contempt of court charges, was temporarily banned from Instagram. He was already banned from Twitter for breaching its “hateful conduct” policy.
Robinson has been reporting on the trials of mostly-Muslim suspects in a British pedophile ring.
An Instagram spokesperson said: “The account @realtommyrobinson was removed in error and has since been reactivated.”
Washington Times columnist Cheryl K. Chumley noted that Jones “has become the face of the censorship fight. He’s well on his way to becoming a martyr – meaning, many of those who don’t even like his content or appreciate his style are gearing up, nevertheless, to defend his right to speak on these social media stations.”
“Censoring Alex Jones Is Really About Censoring You!” Jones tweeted. That post was retweeted some 1,500 times, Chumely noted.
“Understand this,” Jones tweeted. “The censorship of Infowars just vindicates everything we’ve been saying. Now, who will stand against Tyranny and who will stand for free speech? We’re all Alex Jones now.” That post was retweeted 9,100 or so times.
Chumley wrote: “This seems counterproductive to those who would silence him, yes? Google ‘Jones’ and what appears is a page filled with Alex Jones news. It’s not just free advertising for Infowars; it’s turning Jones himself into the cause celebre of the conservatives’ censorship fight.”
The tech giants and social media executives “meant to silence Jones and make him go away. But what they’ve done instead is made him even more noticeable, more influential, more pertinent in today’s news cycles,” Chumley wrote. “They’ve pretty much made him a martyr of the free speech movement.”
Brexit champion Nigel Farage noted that the tech and social media giants which claim to be “open” and in favor of “free speech” are now routinely targeting the views and expressions of conservatives and anti-globalists.
“This is why they no longer even fit the bill of ‘platforms.’ They are publishers in the same way we regard news outlets as publishers. They may use more machine learning and automation, but their systems clearly take editorial positions. We need to hold them to account in the same way we do any other publisher,” Farage wrote.
Farage continued: “That they cannot profess to be neutral, open platforms while being illiberal, dictatorial, and hiding behind the visage of a private corporation (which are more often than not in bed with governments around the world at the very highest levels). This isn’t capitalism. It’s corporatism.”
Farage concludes that the real interference in “U.S. democracy” comes not from Russia, but from some of its most powerful corporations which now yield more power in some cases than the government itself: “This isn’t “liberal democracy” as they keep pretending. It’s autocracy … for those that don’t take issue with the latest censorship of right-wingers by big social media – unless we take a stand now, who knows where it could end.”
Meanwhile, a recent survey found that 40 percent of Americans were unable to list any of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment, while another 36 percent could list just one.
“Wanting to know if millennials at an Ivy League school would fare better, I headed to Columbia University to talk with young people about their knowledge of the First Amendment,” said Campus Reform Media Director Cabot Phillips.
“Offering $20 to any person who could tell me the five freedoms guaranteed under the amendment (Speech, Religion, Assembly, Press, and Petition), it quickly became clear no one would be going home with the money.”
“No, I have no idea,” said one student when asked if he could name any of the five, while another asked if “the right to bear arms” was found under the First Amendment.
One student, after failing to name more than one freedom listed, conceded, “now I feel like I need to go home and just read.”
The majority of the students were able to identify 1-2 freedoms guaranteed under the First Amendment, but no one was able to list more than three, Phillips said.