Facebook censors American Thinker
Two weeks ago, I wrote that the social media giants are refusing to allow people to publish anything about the Wuhan virus that contradicts information from the World Health Organization. This censorship hit close to home on Monday, when Facebook banned an American Thinker reader from posting William Sullivan's post about Sweden's successful decision not to implement lockdowns.
Nobody questions the fact that the social media giants — Twitter, Facebook, and Google/YouTube — have way too much control over American discourse. Americans believe they're participating in a free exchange of ideas, but they're learning that they're actually communicating within a censorious, controlling environment that takes its marching orders from the Democrats and, even more worrisomely, from China (at least indirectly):
Think about this: the largest platforms in America for ordinary citizens who want to share and learn information have made it clear that no one can talk about Wuhan virus issues if the WHO has not preapproved the data. Frankly, it's a terrible idea to have the WHO as the gatekeeper.
The Wuhan virus began in China. It may have been accidental, or, as even the most level-headed people are wondering, it might not have been. Regardless, China consistently lied about it, either to hide its mistakes or to spread the virus and damage the world economy.
The WHO actively aided China's deceit. Katie Pavlich summed up the evidence, showing that the WHO had information in December that there was a dangerous virus on the loose but that it continued to report Chinese propaganda as fact, even after it was apparent that China was lying. Mike Pompeo asserts that U.S. intelligence shows that China paid to install WHO's current head, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. (Tedros denies this charge.)
A reader notified us that when he tried to post William Sullivan's "Lockdowns Never Again: Sweden Was Right, and We Were Wrong" to Facebook, he received the following notice:
Your post goes against our Community Standards on misinformation that could cause physical harm.
No one else can see your post.
We encourage free expression, but don't allow false information about COVID-19 that could contribute to physical harm.
Think about that: there is nothing false in William Sullivan's article. Instead, he sets forth facts about what's happened in Sweden, which he contrasts with America. Then he gives it as his opinion that Sweden made the right decision. From China's perspective, America made the right decision because it trashed its economy, something that works to China's benefit.
Facebook gave our reader the chance to appeal the decision, except it didn't really. Instead, when he disagreed with the decision, he got a politely phrased "go away":
We usually offer the chance to request a review, and follow up if we got decisions wrong.
We have fewer reviewers right now because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We're trying hard to prioritize reviewing content with the most potential for harm.
This means we may not be able to follow up with you, though your feedback helps us do better in the future.
Thank you for understanding.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 said places of public accommodation such as hotels and restaurants may not turn people away based upon their race, sex, creed, etc. Some people think Congress needs to enact similar legislation to address social media giants. Doing so is unnecessary. We already have all the laws we need to clip their wings.
I contend that, because social media controls almost all communications in America, it is a public accommodation for free expression. The First Amendment of 1791 therefore perfectly addresses — and prohibits — what these organizations are doing.
The fact is that, thanks to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the social media giants are enjoying the best of both worlds: they act like publishers (that is, they control content), yet they're protected from litigation because they're identified as the equivalent of bulletin boards. They can't have it both ways. Either they bow to all free speech except for illegal speech (child sex-trafficking, direct incitements to violence or other crimes, etc.), or they acknowledge that they're publishers, opening the way to some lovely lawsuits.
Thankfully, President Trump has taken steps to bring the social media giants to heel with his Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship. Putting his executive order into effect is yet another reason to re-elect Trump in November. Given that the social media giants are all in for Democrats, the executive order will vanish the moment a Democrat steps into the Oval Office.