Facebook has banned another right-winger, but Wired UK isn’t impressed, slamming the ban as disingenuous. The magazine apparently wants Facebook to get serious about repressing conservative speech, and even has a suggestion about who to ban next.
The tech news publication tweeted about an article, saying: “Facebook has banned Tommy Robinson. Here's who it should ban next.” In the actual article, Wired UK slammed Robinson’s activism. It also critiqued Facebook itself, claiming that its “criteria for removing extremists” are “nebulous and asserted on an ad hoc basis.” Wired UK suggested that the ban was “all about saving face, not stopping extremism.” It then cited that other right-wing populist commentators such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Katie Hopkins still have working platforms online.
Wired UK quoted Oxford Internet Institute researcher and online extremism specialist Bharath Ganesh who claimed “I think the key message to take away is that Facebook’s approach to Yaxley-Lennon/Tommy Robinson’s page has been entirely inconsistent.”
“It seems the company is concerned by claims from the right that conservative voices, in both the US and the UK, [believe] their free speech is under attack. It’s possible that Facebook’s desire to be unbiased has some effect on [its] decision-making in taking down accounts.”
Robinson’s ban was suspiciously timed, immediately after the release of his documentary “Panodrama: An Exposé of the Fake News BBC!”
Though Wired UK seems confident that such bans, in the long run, take a serious toll on conservatives abilities to be heard, “Robinson’s confidence, however, that his audience will continue to view his content may be misplaced. A recent report on rightwing influencers by anti-racist charity Hope not Hate found that the removal of Alex Jones and Gavin McInnes from social media had significantly dented their online clout.”
Wired UK elaborated further that Facebook's statement on Robinson’s ban cited that it received “guidance” from “Article 19 of of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a treaty which sets standards for when it is appropriate to restrict freedom of speech.”
Wired UK noted that the key word here was “guidance,” and stated that the company is vulnerable to accusations of “[acting] opportunistically rather than ethically, and that the primary motive guiding these bans is the defence of its reputation.”
The original tweet received poor reception, with many comments critical of Wired UK receiving more likes than the post itself.