Censored in America

Facebook just banned comic and CRTV pundit Gavin McInnes. Is that fair?

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Many people get censored on social media—even Prager University, which offers dignified lectures on conservative philosophy. One day, Prager saw that some of their videos had been seen by zero people. It turned out that a Facebook censor had flagged their videos as “hate speech”. Facebook apologized.

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is banned from every major platform. Provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos is banned from Twitter.

Private companies have every right to ban whomever they want, but Stossel asks, should they?

In McInnes’s case, Twitter banned him and gave him no reason. A screen popped up on Twitter telling McInnes that he was banned “specifically, for: ” but nothing came after the colon. Twitter’s reason for banning him was blank.

When we reached Twitter, they told us that they banned McInnes “for violating our policy prohibiting violent extremist groups.”

Perhaps that’s because McInnes created a group called the “Proud Boys,” and some people calling themselves Proud Boys attended the deadly Charlottesville rally last year. But McInnes had opposed the Charlottesville racism, and kicked people who attended the event out of his group. Asked about that, Twitter told us they have “nothing more to share at this time.”

Stossel cringes at some things McInnes says, but isn’t sure what line McInnes crossed.

For example, after Antifa demonstrators harassed McInnes and others outside one of his speeches, McInnes said: “I cannot recommend violence enough. It’s a really effective way to solve problems.”

Stossel asks McInnes: “How does that not violate the social media company’s guidelines?”

“I’m not condoning violence,” responded McInnes. “But I am condoning justified violence in self-defense … I had to make it clear to a mob of 500 that I wasn’t tolerating any transgressions.”

McInnes also uses racial humor. He told Stossel that “back in the ’80s, when you could riff and make jokes and everyone was like, ‘hey, how you doing, you old Polack?’, we all got along better.”

He once wrote that while leftists mocks American hillbillies as inbred yokels, that stereotype actually better fits the Muslim world. “The Muslim world is filled with shoeless, toothless, inbred, hill-dwelling, rifle-toting, sodomy-prone men, ready to kill,” McInnes wrote.

“I see why people call you a racist,” Stossel tells McInnes.

McInnes responds: “I’m funny. That quote is –”

“It’s hateful,” Stossel interjects.

“No, it’s hyperbolic. It’s colorful,” McInnes responds.

McInnes says he’s not racist. Just pro-western.

“The west is this amalgam of everyone from everywhere else going … ‘let’s hammer out a meritocracy that has nothing to do with race, and nothing to do with ethnicity, and is all about loving this new place we made.'”

Should McInnes be allowed on Twitter? Twitter decided no — he’s unacceptable.

Stossel argues that while he doesn’t like some things McInnes says, McInnes makes him think. Stossel says he’s more upset that people in Silicon Valley secretly determine what ideas are allowed on his social media feed.

The best answer to speech we don’t like, Stossel says, is more speech.