Facebook, much to the glee of the far left, banned Infowars top dog Alex Jones permanently from posting on its social media site.
Likewise, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan — only this time, much to the glee of the ideological right.
But caution flags should be waving.
As founders warned: Free speech is key to a free society. On that regard, they’re probably rolling in their graves right now.
Thing is, a ban is a ban is a ban; censorship is censorship, no matter which side or source or subject are being censored.
And Facebook, when it comes to banning, seems to be making the moves as some sort of protective gesture for users. Like a big daddy in the sky. Like a big paternal presence.
“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” one Facebook spokesperson said to CNN Business. “The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.”
Laura Loomer? Milo Yiannopoulos? Paul Joseph Watson?
These people — all banned — aren’t so much promoters of violence as they are politically charged aggressive truth-tellers of topics that aren’t comfortable for the average liberal. Or for polite conservatives, either. They speak about radical Islam, about secret government shenanigans and, ironically enough, about censorship in today’s politically correct culture. They speak their minds, and they’re not always pretty with their approaches and rhetoric — but isn’t that what makes America’s freedoms churn?
Once upon a time.
Facebook, apparently, considers these peeps “dangerous.”
And so, too, will you be, as well, if Facebook powers-that-be catch you trying to represent these banned individuals on your own social media pages.
From CNN: “The [Facebook] spokesperson added that Facebook will remove groups, pages and accounts created to represent the banned individuals when it knows the individual is participating in the effort.”
This is chilling.
And if you think it won’t happen to you — well, give it some time. The thing with censors is they get more emboldened with time. They become more arrogant with time. They become more powerful with time.
Yes, Facebook, as a private platform has a right to ban anyone it wants from its sites. That’s because Congress has failed to act, failed to reclassify the social media platform in a way that allows for lawful intervention in censorship cases. So now, Americans are seeing the censorship consequences.
And one day, not too far in the future, that Laura Loomer, that Alex Jones, that Paul Joseph Watson — could very well be you.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.