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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - A conservative commentator is considering suing Facebook for permanently booting him from the platform.
On May 2, it was announced that Paul Joseph Watson and others were banned from Facebook and Instagram. Along with Watson, Facebook also gave the boot to Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos and Laura Loomer, among others.
Discussing the ban, a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement, "We've always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology."
The spokesperson added, "The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today."
In the aftermath of the ban, Watson has suggested that he may take legal action against Facebook. In a tweet on May 3, Watson stated, "I have the best media lawyers in London looking over the Facebook issue. I am not an 'extremist' or a 'dangerous person' and won't be defamed as one."
I have the best media lawyers in London looking over the Facebook issue. I am not an "extremist" or a "dangerous person" and won't be defamed as one.— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) May 3, 2019
And in a tweet on May 6, Watson brought up the case of Maajid Nawaz, who won a multi-million dollar settlement with the Southern Poverty Law Center.
A reminder that Maajid Nawaz won $3.375 million for falsely being labeled an "extremist". Interesting. https://t.co/wAAtzfzxnb— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) May 6, 2019
Facebook's toughest restrictions are directed at Jones and his organization, Infowars, on the grounds that they are "dangerous" and encourage hatred and violence. According to the new policy, if anyone shares Infowars content on Facebook or Instagram — which Facebook also owns — without denouncing it, the content in question will be removed.
Also being blocked permanently from Facebook are Paul Nehlen, an unsuccessful GOP congressional primaries candidate from Wisconsin referred to by some as a white supremacist; and Louis Farrakhan, a minister of the Nation of Islam frequently criticized for anti-Semitism.
Reporting on the May 2 wave of permanent bans, The Washington Post caught flak for a headline which referred to Farrakhan as a "far-right" leader. The headline was later changed.
Watson confirmed early reports on his social media censorship, tweeting out on May 2, "Reports are true. I have been banned by Facebook. Was given no reason. I broke none of their rules."
He commented, "In an authoritarian society controlled by a handful of Silicon Valley giants, all dissent must be purged."
Reports are true.— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) May 2, 2019
I have been banned by Facebook.
Was given no reason. I broke none of their rules.
In an authoritarian society controlled by a handful of Silicon Valley giants, all dissent must be purged.
Please visit https://t.co/4psjfSdF96 while it still exists.
Some commentators warn that the latest wave of Facebook bans could be a dangerous precedent for social media giants using their power to silence political opponents.
For instance, Matt Walsh stated, "Blows my mind that there are 'conservatives' who don't see a significant problem with the summary deplatforming of guys like [Paul Joseph Watson]. You fools will be whining up a storm when they come for you, which they will."
Blows my mind that there are “conservatives” who don’t see a significant problem with the summary deplatforming of guys like @PrisonPlanet. You fools will be whining up a storm when they come for you, which they will.— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) May 3, 2019
President Donald Trump took note of Facebook's recent wave of permanent bans, retweeting several of Watson's tweets about his banishment from Facebook.
At one point, the president tweeted out a link to a Breitbart article, commenting, "So surprised to see conservative thinkers like James Woods banned from Twitter, and Paul Watson banned from Facebook!"
So surprised to see Conservative thinkers like James Woods banned from Twitter, and Paul Watson banned from Facebook! https://t.co/eHX3Z5CMXb— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2019
Conservative actor James Woods' Twitter account recently got suspended for more than a week after he sent a tweet about the Mueller report that Twitter interpreted as a call for violence.
That tweet, which allegedly violated Twitter's rule against "abusive behavior," said, "If you try to kill the King, you better not miss. #HangThemAll."
Woods was apparently imitating a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that reads, "When you strike at a king, you must kill him."
Complaining about the influence that social media giants have on public discourse, Watson said in a YouTube video, "A handful of giant corporations have seized control of the new public square, and are digitally 'disappearing' dissidents."
Watson also said in the May 4 video, "Here's what needs to happen: platform access should be a civil right for all citizens in all countries. We need a digital bill of rights."
In online discussion, some have postulated that Watson's ties to Infowars played a role in Facebook's decision to boot him from the platform. For instance, CNN reporter Oliver Darcy tweeted, "The president of the United States is spending his morning retweeting InfoWars personality Paul Joseph Watson — someone who has built a career pushing conspiracy theories about things like Seth Rich, 9/11, chemtrails, etc."
Watson replied in a retweet, "This is manifestly false. Ten years ago I had some silly beliefs. I didn't 'build a career' on them. I built a career calling out liars like you who work for CNN."
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