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Trump rants against Facebook, Twitter and defends conspiracy theorists



President Donald Trump on Friday accused social-media platforms of censoring several outspoken conspiracy theorists and far-right figures, some of whom pushed baseless conspiracies and frequently post pro-Trump content.

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

In subsequent tweets, Trump decried Facebook’s temporary ban targeting Diamond and Silk, two online personalities and outspoken supporters of the president. Diamond and Silk, whose real names are Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, were banned by Facebook in 2018 for spreading what the platform deemed to be “unsafe” content.

Actor James Woods.
Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Facebook later said the duo were banned after an “enforcement error” and restored Hardaway and Richardson’s accounts. Despite Facebook’s apology, the two falsely claimed that the company never reached out to them.

“The wonderful Diamond and Silk have been treated so horribly by Facebook,” Trump tweeted. “They work so hard and what has been done to them is very sad – and we’re looking into.

Trump went on to suggest the bans were a result of political biases from the leaders of social-media platforms.

Companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been scrutinized by far-right figures of late.

“It’s getting worse and worse for Conservatives on social media,” Trump said in his tweet, adding later that he was “so surprised to see Conservative thinkers like James Woods banned from Twitter, and Paul Watson banned from Facebook!”

Actor James Woods’ Twitter account was previously locked for tweeting a hoax meme against Democrats. Infowars contributor Paul Watson frequently posts controversial content on Twitter and YouTube.

Trump’s claim comes on the heels of Facebook’s announcement that it was banning the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones; the alt-right speaker Milo Yiannopoulos; far-right vloggers Watson and Laura Loomer; Louis Farrakhan, a known anti-Semite; and the conspiracy blog Infowars.

Facebook said it was banning the users for promoting or engaging “violence and hate, regardless of ideology.”

“The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday.

Representatives from Facebook, Alphabet Inc., and Twitter previously defended their practices before a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

The same companies have also been broadly criticized for giving a voice to proponents of hate speech and misinformation.

“Giving preference to content of one political ideology over another would fundamentally conflict with our goal of providing services that work for everyone,” Juniper Downs, YouTube’s public policy and government relations chief, said in a congressional hearing in July.

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