The argument around social media giants banning Infowars and Alex Jones' accounts has reached new heights as Democratic Senator Chris Murphy has expressed his support for the move taken by Facebook, YouTube and others. He urged the tech companies to "take down" websites like Infowars, claiming that the survival of democracy depends on it.
Infowars is the tip of a giant iceberg of hate and lies that uses sites like Facebook and YouTube to tear our nation apart. These companies must do more than take down one website. The survival of our democracy depends on it.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 6, 2018
His comment didn't go unnoticed by the US president's son, Donald Trump Jr., who accused the senator of supporting "censorship" by big tech companies. He suggested that the ultimate goal of the so-called "purge" campaign is to eradicate all conservative media in the US.
A Democrat Senator openly admitting that Big Tech's censorship campaign is really about purging all conservative media.— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) August 7, 2018
How long before Big Tech and their Democrat friends move to censor and purge @BreitbartNews, @DailyCaller and other conservatives voices from their platforms? https://t.co/sFS7mr8Pco
While not supporting Alex Jones or Infowars, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has spoken against banning the accounts on the social network, noting that Jones has never formally violated Twitter's terms of service. He added that the platform will "hold Jones to the same standard" as any other account.
We didn’t suspend Alex Jones or Infowars yesterday. We know that’s hard for many but the reason is simple: he hasn’t violated our rules. We’ll enforce if he does. And we’ll continue to promote a healthy conversational environment by ensuring tweets aren’t artificially amplified.— jack (@jack) August 8, 2018
If we succumb and simply react to outside pressure, rather than straightforward principles we enforce (and evolve) impartially regardless of political viewpoints, we become a service that’s constructed by our personal views that can swing in any direction. That’s not us.— jack (@jack) August 8, 2018
Twitterians were left divided by the heated exchange between the president's son and the senator. Many of them supported Trump Jr.'s view, noting that tech giants and the Democrats are waging a war on freedom of speech, despite claiming to be defending democracy.
So the survival of our Freedom relies on… taking away people's Freedom?— Odd Stories For Odd Children (@Kolbek79) August 8, 2018
So instead of burning books, we are now just banning and blocking other view points?
Free speech no longer a thing?— Joe Warmington (@joe_warmington) August 7, 2018
No, actually the survival of the Democratic Party depends on the censorship you’re advocating— Michael Wegman 🇺🇸 (@Wedge4321) August 8, 2018
Still, some twitterians scolded Trump Jr. for defending Infowars and its founder, claiming that banning such content can't be considered to be a violation of freedom of speech. Some also noted that the term "censorship" is only applicable to government policies, while private companies are allowed to block any content they want.
In case you missed it. @Tennesseine:…the #1stAmendment has nothing to do with private companies providing you with airtime or digital platforms. It’s a guarantee against GOVERNMENT suppression of speech. Like, say, a president forcing a sports league to silence protesters.— EllieM (@EllieM) August 7, 2018
You seem to not understand the difference between "hate and lies" and "Conservative media."— Stand For Something Even If You're Sitting Down (@StaybulJeenyuss) August 7, 2018
Or did the Republican President's son just openly admit that there is no difference between the two?
For one, Alex Jones incites violence which is not protected speech even so private companies are allowed to set terms & policies in allowing citizens use of their platform No individual has a right to post a video to youtube it's a privilege granted by the co. with restrictions— Tara O'Grady (@TaraLOGrady) August 7, 2018
A number of tech companies have recently blocked content published by Alex Jones and his Infowars media platform, suspending the accounts. Among those who took the controversial step are Apple, Facebook, Pinterest, Spotify and YouTube.