On August 6th, Facebook, YouTube, & Spotify among other prominent internet services permanently banned Alex Jones & his news organization Infowars for violating "community standards" for "hate speech" and "bullying" after earlier unjustly handing them a 30 day suspension from Facebook and a 90 day suspension of their livestreaming abilities on their YouTube channel for four specific videos(including one that criticized how Muslims "conquered" Europe through the migrant crisis there, one that showed a clip of an adult shoving a child to the ground, & one that criticized a 9 year old drag queen in Montreal and that kid's parents for sexualizing him by allowing him to perform at a LGBT club there). Amazingly, Twitter didn't ban Jones, at least not yet(as of August 9th when I'm writing this), but I think there was a major reason why Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey didn't pull that trigger yet which I'll explain later.
Where to start on this one? Basically it was a dumb move on these sites' part and it should scare anybody that says they believe in the principle of freedom of speech.
First off, it was extremely disappointing for me to hear Scoot say on his WWL radio show on August 8th that he agreed with Jones & Infowars being banned from those sites mainly because Scoot doesn't like Alex Jones and doesn't see Infowars as a legitimate news source and also using the tired argument that the Constitution only protects against government intrusion on your rights. It's understandable, but I think Scoot let his own biases against Jones & Infowars drive his opinion even though he often criticizes confirmation bias and supports free speech.
The priniciple of freedom of speech goes far beyond the First Amendment of the United States Constitution as even the impotent United Nations calls freedom of speech a basic human right. In fact, our First Amendment does apply to private corporations and citizens just as much as it does to government officials and agencies. You can't defame someone to ruin their reputation, you can't yell "fire" in a crowded area when there's no fire in that area, and you can't directly advocate for violence against a specific person or group.
For example, Entergy, which provides electricity service to most of SE Louisiana, wouldn't legally be allowed to shut off the electricity to any TV or radio station in New Orleans because they didn't like how those stations reported on a story that Entergy hired actors to sit in on a New Orleans City Council meeting pretending to be supporters of a new power plant being built in the New Orleans area.
Also, just because Alex Jones has arguably defamed people in the past(the biggest example being the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting and the push of the theory that the school shooting was faked by the government in an attempt to get the Second Amendment repealed) does NOT mean he loses his rights under the First Amendment. He can still be defamed and he arguably has been defamed by Facebook and YouTube when they banned him and Infowars for "hate speech".
I don't think Scoot even watched the videos in question that got Jones & Infowars kicked off those social media platforms to begin with. Granted, I wasn't able to either and my knowledge of the videos that got him banned came from episode 113 of the Beauty & the Beta podcast run by YouTubers Matt Christensen and Blonde in the Belly of the Beast.
Anyway, it was an extremely stupid move by Facebook and YouTube in particular for several reasons. George R.R. Martin, the author of the Game of Thrones book series, has said that "When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you're only telling the world that you fear what he might say."
1) Like I said two years ago when Twitter banned Milo Yiannapolis, Facebook and YouTube banning Alex Jones and Infowars only legitimizes Jones and Infowars not just in the eyes of his supporters, but also in the eyes of people who wouldn't normally have supported him. The bans will only make Jones more popular(remember what happened when that crazy bored Michigan housewife tried to get the TV show Married....With Children banned?), more infamous/famous. and as more internet services try to de-platform Jones & Infowars, more people will actually empathize with them even if they don't agree with them, thus be more willing to support him and Infowars.
More people will want to hear what Alex Jones has to say regardless if it's a conspiracy theory or not. And he'll acutally get the benefit of the doubt simply because he got banned from these platforms for a bullshit reason(thus proving him right about a conspiracy theory). These sites are only doing him a favor in the long run.
To use a wrestling reference, when WCW had a match in 1999 between Master P's group of No Limit Soldiers and Curt Hennig's West Texas Rednecks stable, Curt Hennig and his group were outnumbered 10 to 4. In the fans' eyes, even though Hennig and his group were being portrayed as heels because they didn't like rap music, they were seen as good guys because they were outnumbered.
2) Once again, these monopolistic social media sites continue to promote double standards in how they enforce their terms of service. As YouTuber Dave Cullen(Computing Forever) has pointed out, these sites' terms of service(which are part of the European Union's bullshit "hate speech" laws, which would be unconstitutional under United States case law) are left intentionally vague, but the far-left ideologues that run these sites and enforce these rules have a very broad definition of what constitutes "hate speech". It's very similar to how the United States Supreme Court defines pornography(the "I know it when I see it" argument).
For example, you can criticize Christianity all day on these sites, but criticizing Islam is haram. I could post on Twitter that Christianity glorifies violence by glorifying the torture and murder of its eponymous savior without fear of getting banned, but if I post that Islam glorifies violence and pedophilia becuase its prophet was a warlord who married a 6 year old girl and consumated the marriage when she was 9, I run the risk of getting banned.
Criticizing a religious ideology that demonstratably treats women and LGBT people like dirt is not "hate speech".
Also, you can criticize the behavior of a straight white man(or conservative white woman) all day, but criticizing the behavior of a person who is black, Hispanic, LGBT, etc. is verbotin.
Criticizing the behavior of any person regardless of skin color, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or whatever, is not "hate speech".
If criticizing ideology and behavior is "hate speech", then anything can be "hate speech". I now declare that blaming fake "violent" video games for school shootings is a form of "hate speech".
Another double standard is that it seems like it's only conservatives and centrists that are getting hit by these rules much more than far left progressives are. Especially since conservatives and conservative media outlets like Fox News, The Blaze, and Bretibart have been criticizing these sites since 2015 for their perceived bias against conservative views and especially since Twitter employees were caught on tape by Project Veritas admitting their bias against conservatives and to shadowbanning conservatives. In fact, on July 26th, President Donald Trump posted on Twitter that his administration would start investigating Twitter over shadowbanning prominent Republican politicians, calling it a "discriminatory and illegal practice". Also, YouTube's parent company Google is currently being sued by James Damore over their treatment of white men and conservatives at their headquarters.
I think that's why Twitter hasn't banned Jones and Infowars yet. That and the fact that the site did not ban Peter Fonda for his reprehensible tweet advocating for violence against Melania and Barron Trump. I think Jack Dorsey knows if Twitter banned Alex Jones, Jones would win a lawsuit against them on that basis. It's also part of the reason why he won't ban President Trump.
Honestly, I think if Jones were to sue Facebook and YouTube in particular, he'd win based on these double standards whether they were private companies or not.
For example, even though Facebook has suspended far left feminists who posted "kill all men" and recently removed a video of Louis Farrakhan denouncing interracial marriage, the latter comes off as a thinly veiled attempt to deflect criticism.
YouTube is in a worse position than Facebook is, though. There are far left progressives who spout off more and worse "hate speech" against white people than Alex Jones has against any race or sexual orientation. Biggest example of this is a worthless turd named Gazi Kozdo. Dude sounds like Chris Tucker if Tucker was on crack cocaine and is a racist. The guy posts on YouTube and Facebook praising black supremacist cop killers Micah Xavier Johnson and Gavin Long as well as the four black scumbags in Chicago that held a white special needs man hostage because he might have been a supporter of President Trump. Kozdo also posts videos calling for violence against white people and compares white people to toilet seats, yet he doesn't get banned from either platform because he's black and he's gay. Which shows another double standard promoted by these social media sites.
Here's another interesting example: YouTuber Devon Tracey, who goes by the name Atheism is Unstoppable, is very pro-police, and has had his own problems with YouTube suspending his various channels in recent months(since he has been falsely accused of being a racist by quite a few YouTubers over the years), has posted videos outright blaming the YouTube channel The Young Turks and their hosts including Cenk Uyger, Ana Kasparian, Hasan Piker(who Devon refers to as "Brown Fabio"), Francis Maxwell(who looks and sounds like one of the guys from the one hit wonder band The Proclaimers), and comedian Jimmy Dore for partly inspiring Gavin Long to commit the murders of the Baton Rouge police officers. And in a form of inception, Long may have also inspired Micah Xavier Johnson to commit the murders of the Dallas police officers. Two days after the six Baton Rouge police officers were shot by Long, a caller to Scoot's show pointed out that Long used the term "Revenue and Blood" in his YouTube videos and using the reports after the Dallas police shooting that Johnson wrote the letters "R" and "B" in his own blood after the cops used a bomb to mortally wound him to stop the shooting, the caller suggested that Johnson may have been trying to write "Revenue" and "Blood" as some sort of sign.
Considering that TYT is partly funded by Al-Jazeera, which is basically the propaganda arm of the Qatari government, and has a partnership with the Fusion cable network(which is co-owned by Disney & Univision), should TYT be banned from YouTube for their alleged culpability in the attacks of police officers? Normally, I would say no on that particular basis, because at the end of the day, as someone who firmly believes in the idea of personal accountability, Gavin Long still chose to travel to Baton Rouge on a hot Sunday morning in July 2016 to murder three police officers and maim three other police officers. After all, as Andrew Ryan said, "A man chooses, a slave obeys."
However, since we're operating under the assumption that anything can now be considered "hate speech", criticizing the behavior of police officers is now a form of "hate speech". Especially considering that, in response to the shootings of the police officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas as well as other attacks on police officers like in New York City, Louisiana passed a law, which Gov. John Bel Edwards signed, amending the state's existing hate crime legislation to make attacking a police officer just for being a police officer a hate crime. Therefore, yeah, TYT can be banned from YouTube like Infowars was because police officers are considered a protected class under Louisiana state law.
Although, this is a double-edged sword since the crazy far left addled with Trump Derangement Syndrome would turn around say that criticizing the actions of the FBI since Trump won the election(and the FBI's failure to prevent the Parkland school shooting) is "hate speech". But, if you like watching the (internet) world burn........
As I also said two years ago when Twitter banned Milo, the terms of service of these sites are supposed to be applied to all users, not just to the people you personally disagree with, and the terms of service should be enforced at all times, not just whenever you feel like it. If you're not going to enforce these rules all the time, then don't have them at all.
3) This is just continuing to push Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube into being left-wing echo chambers and Gab, Minds, Bitchute, Steemit, and DTube will be considered right wing echo chambers even though those sites are far more open to freedom of speech than Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have in the last few years. All it will do is just further radicalize people on either side.
Also, Facebook and Google thought this was a good idea, how? Especially considering that Facebook's and Twitter's stock took a big hit recently because they're losing users mostly because of their draconian rules. Blonde in the Belly of the Beast made an interesting point in a recent video called "The Real Reasons We're Sick of Social Media" that younger people are not using Facebook and Twitter as much as they used to because their parents and grandparents are also using those platforms, making both Facebook and Twitter uncool in the process. Banning Jones and Infowars will just drive their fans to whatever platform is willing to take them.
4) Game developer Mark "Grummz" Kern is right. This is a test by the far left ideologues to see if they can get away with this. And they smell blood right now. Vox Media almost immediately posted an article after Alex Jones and Infowars' bannings calling for other conservative journalists to be banned from these social media platforms, specifically naming Lauren Southern, Gavin MacInnes, Stefan Molyneux, Steven Crowder, Mark Dice, and at least a couple of others I forgot.
I also wonder if Alex Jones and Infowars' ban from Facebook and YouTube is a form of payback against conservatives Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec getting Disney to fire James Gunn from his job directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after the two dug up old tweets of Gunn's from around 2008 to 2010 making jokes about pedophilia because Gunn supported Disney owned ABC firing Roseanne Barr from her own sitcom and the Parkland Television Council's attacks on Laura Ingraham earlier this year. Even though the actors from the movie are trying to get Disney to rehire Gunn if Disney hasn't already rehired him as of this writing.
And once they ban all the conservatives, then what? They'll go after the centrists next. Even though Scoot works for WWL radio, which is owned by the media corporation Entercom, the far left ideologues running Facebook could ban him from there, saying that supporting gun rights is "hate speech".
Sadly, it may take the US government getting involved to protect the unalienable right of freedom of speech from these monopolistic corporations like Facebook, Google, Twitter, PayPal, and Stripe. Preferably, something like what Styxhexenhammer666 has often suggested, an Amendment to the US Constitution that expands the rights granted under the First and Fourth Amendments to internet usage. Otherwise, treating the social media sites as public utilities like water or electricity would be fair. Or even the FCC treating internet access like it's cable TV(you're paying for internet service, possibly from the same company that you get cable TV service from). Basically something where these sites can't legally deny services to anyone just because they said something these corporations or somebody else didn't like.
One last note: For the people who do agree with Facebook and YouTube's decision to ban Alex Jones and Infowars under the false pretense of "hate speech", here's something to think about. If you agree with Alex Jones being banned from Facebook and YouTube, but believe that the NFL players should be able to not stand for the US National Anthem without being punished by the league, then that makes you a hypocrite. Basically, if Facebook and YouTube can ban Alex Jones, then the NFL can ban any player that doesn't stand for the National Anthem.
But here's the flip side: It's also hypocrisy if you think Alex Jones should not be banned from those social media platforms, but that the NFL should be able to punish any player who refuses to stand for the Star-Spangled Banner. If Alex Jones can't be banned from social media, then the NFL can't ban any putrid pussy that kneels or sits for the National Anthem.
However, there is a major difference: the NFL players are employees of the NFL who operate under a collective bargaining agreement. Alex Jones is not considered an employee of those social media sites that banned him and Infowars. Again, YouTube may be in a more actionable situation than Facebook would be because YouTube has their own cable TV service, YouTubeTV. As I alluded to throughout this blog post, I think Jones would have an argument that his Fourteenth Amendment rights(not just his First Amendment rights, not to mention his Fifth Amendment & Sixth Amendment rights) are being violated by these internet services because they allow CNN, msnbc, Fox News, etc. to be on their platform with no consequences if they violate the terms of service of those sites.
Hmmmm........does that make YouTube similar to a public access channel?
It's a sad day for free speech advocates. And it's bound to get even worse before it gets better.