- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 4, 2019

In the wake of Facebook banning right-wing radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, President Trump on Saturday questioned why mainstream news outlets critical of his administration are permitted to operate on social networking services like Twitter and Facebook.

“Why is @nytimes, @washingtonpost, @CNN, @MSNBC allowed to be on Twitter & Facebook,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Much of what they do is FAKE NEWS!”

Mr. Trump’s complaint came on the heels of Facebook recently banning a handful of accounts associated with high-profile users considered in violation of the company’s policies prohibiting dangerous individuals and organizations, including several affiliated with the unabashedly pro-Trump “Infowars” website operated by right-wing media personality Alex Jones.

“I am continuing to monitor the censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS on social media platforms,” Mr. Trump tweeted Friday evening. “This is the United States of America — and we have what’s known as FREEDOM OF SPEECH! We are monitoring and watching, closely!!”

Mr. Trump subsequently shared Infowars content from his Twitter account Saturday morning, including a video filmed by Infowars during a 2018 Trump rally and two tweets from Infowars editor Paul Joseph Watson, whose Facebook account was among several purged from the social network this week.

Twitter declined to comment when asked by The Washington Times about Mr. Trump’s tweets. Representatives for Facebook did not immediately return a similar inquiry.

Facebook accounts belonging to Infowars, Mr. Jones and Mr. Watson were all removed the platform Thursday, in addition to accounts belonging to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan; Paul Nehlen, a far-right politician; former Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos and activist and self-described investigative journalist Laura Loomer.

“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.”

Speaking to The Washington Times, Mr. Jones said that the president has been “way behind the curve” on combatting social media censorship and called it “one of his biggest failings”

“This is extremely dangerous,” said Mr. Jones. “We are having our First Amendment totally destroyed.”

“If people don’t have the instinct to stand up then everybody is going to get what they deserve. Everybody. This is about the general public having their rights taken,” Mr. Jones said in an interview. “I’ve been targeted because I’m a flamboyant person they can take out of context hoping nobody stands up for me, and when nobody stands up for me then the dominoes start falling.”

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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