Trump attacks social media companies after Facebook bans Alex Jones, other extremists

The Associated Press

Facebook and other social media platforms have been under fire for not doing enough to curb messages of hate and violence, while at the same time criticised for failing to offer equal time for all viewpoints no matter how unpleasant.

President Trump on Saturday asked why "radical left wing media" like CNN and the New York Times are allowed to be on Twitter and Facebook due to their "so wrong" coverage of the Russian Federation investigation - as he raised concerns about the banning of conservative figures from the social media platforms.

Trump in March accused Facebook, Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Twitter of favoring content from Democrats and blocking material from some Republicans.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted harsh criticism of mainstream news organizations such as the Washington Post and New York Times, while lashing out against social media platforms for banning the editors of a prominent American conspiracy theory website, Infowars.

Farrakhan, the controversial Nation of Islam minister, was among several conservative voices banned from the social media platforms this week for being "dangerous", according to Facebook's ruling. But beyond the bans on individuals, Facebook has deployed an even more terrifying tool of censorship - link-banning.

The company also removed far-right provocateurs Milo Yiannopoulos and Laura Loomer, and Paul Nehlen, a white supremacist who staged an unsuccessful congressional bid in 2018, along with Jones' site, Infowars.

The president is showing particular support for Watson, an InfoWars personality notorious for spreading misinformation. A Facebook spokesperson explained the site's reason for banning conservatives, stating: "We've always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology. We are monitoring and watching, closely!" he added.

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Trump hasn't been the only celebrity to take issue with Facebook's bans.

Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, who make up the conservative duo Diamond and Silk, claimed last month that Facebook labeled their videos "unsafe to the community", in a decision that was final and irreversible.

Earlier Friday, the president's son, Donald Trump Jr, fired off his own tweet that appeared to criticise Facebook for removing far-right users.

Trump has previously asserted that social media companies exhibit bias against conservatives, something the companies have rejected as untrue. "Much of what they do is FAKE NEWS!", he asserted.

'They didn't just ban me.

On Twitter, Trump cited a number of individuals he said were being unfairly treated by social media companies, including Watson and the actor James Woods.

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