Social media platforms like Facebook are rapidly banning pro-Trump and conservative content from their platforms after the Capitol break-in. Facebook has announced that it will now be blocking all content that has the phrase “Stop the Steal” until Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration on Jan. 20.
Facebook argues that the phrase questions the integrity of elections, which the platform sees as problematic. The company justifies its censorship by explaining that such content could incite violence in the next few weeks. Trump supporters have been using “Stop the Steal” slogans after the results of the Nov. 3 election came into question.
“We are now removing content containing the phrase ‘stop the steal’ under our Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram… With continued attempts to organize events against the outcome of the US presidential election that can lead to violence, and use of the term by those involved in Wednesday’s violence in DC, we’re taking this additional step in the lead up to the inauguration. It may take some time to scale up our enforcement of this new step but we have already removed a significant number of posts,” the company said in a post.
According to Facebook, they have established teams that are working 24/7 to implement censorship policies leading up to Biden’s inauguration, responding to “threats” in real-time. The company has also indefinitely suspended the account of President Trump and temporarily blocked political ads in the country.
The platform’s new section will contain a News Digest that will help people find “reliable news.” Twitter has also permanently banned Trump’s account and has temporarily blocked the accounts of many conservative voices, like The Gateway Pundit, for questioning the validity of the 2020 presidential election results.
Republican Marco Rubio also warned that the censorship unleashed by Big Tech will only lead to new grievances that will fuel “the very thing they claim to be trying to prevent.” Republican Ted Cruz said that Big Tech is biased against Trump and asked why a handful of Silicon Valley billionaires should have control over political speech.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo likened Big Tech censorship of Trump to the censorship policies of the Chinese communist regime
Pompeo tweeted that silencing free speech is un-American and that Big Tech cannot be allowed to silence 75 million Americans.
Senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Kate Ruane, who is actually an opponent of Trump’s policies, admitted that Twitter went overboard by banning the president from its platform.
“For months, President Trump has been using social media platforms to seed doubt about the results of the election and to undermine the will of voters. We understand the desire to permanently suspend him now, but it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions – especially when political realities make those decisions easier,” Ruane said in a statement.
Tech billionaire Elon Musk took a dig at Facebook and Twitter, saying that a lot of people are unhappy with West Coast high tech acting as “the de facto arbiter of free speech.” He noted that Big Tech companies need to learn the distinction between banning hate speech and banning speech because you hate it.
Republican Randy Fine from Florida has asked Governor Ron DeSantis to immediately divest any Florida-held equity and debt of Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet, Apple, and Twitter. Fine stated that he is disturbed that America’s biggest tech companies are using the actions of a few people to silence the voices of millions of patriotic Americans.