Social media giants have backed CNN’s call to ban InfoWars in a telling violation of the First Amendment.
Led by host Alex Jones, InfoWars built upwards of 10 million monthly followers through heavy promotion of Facebook, YouTube, Spotify and others. CNN — commonly referred to as “Fake News” by millions of Americans — has repeatedly attacked the right-wing InfoWars. CNN stars demonstrated outrage when Jones earned White House Press Corps credentials and began attending press briefings.
Although CNN personalities such as Jim Acosta have cried foul when not included in small press gaggles, the cable news network has lobbied for the removal of InfoWars, and went on the record to state that Jones should not enjoy the same free speech rights as other outlets. In fact, CNN has postured that social media organizations should ban InfoWars entirely. Now, these companies have actually done it.
CNN Attacks Free Speech
Perhaps no thicker irony exists than CNN claiming InfoWars should be banned for misinformation. Pres. Donald J. Trump had not even taken the oath of office when the left-leaning media outlet posted an inaugural crowd photo with only a portion of the guests. CNN neither apologized, retracted nor published a photo with the full crowd in attendance. The erroneous claims have only gotten worse. “False and misleading” is the CNN brand.
Call it hypocrisy if you like, but false and misleading is basis of CNN and others’ complaints about InfoWars. Consider this headline from CNN:
“Facebook touts fight on fake news, but struggles to explain why InfoWars isn’t banned”
Other left-leaning media outlets followed CNN’s lead on the issue. However, none were quite so vocal or persistent in dogging InfoWars free speech rights.
During a Q&A session led by Facebook’s John Hegeman about combating fake news in the wake of the Russian Meddling scandal, InfoWars and Jones became the target from a CNN reporter. At the time, Hegeman said the social media company’s position was that it does not “take down false news.”
That makes perfect sense when you consider Facebook and other social media outlets are not in the journalism business. How would they be able to glean the difference between CNN’s phony inauguration photo and a credible one?
Facebook’s news feed chief, Sara Su, said the company only takes down knowingly false posts.
“There’s a ton of stuff — conspiracy theories, misleading claims, cherry picking — that we know can be really problematic and it bugs me too,” Su reportedly said. “But we need to figure out a way to really define that in a clear way, and then figure out what our policy and our product positions are about that.”
“We work hard to find the right balance between encouraging free expression and promoting a safe and authentic community, and we believe that down-ranking inauthentic content strikes that balance,” she reportedly said. “In other words, we allow people to post it as a form of expression, but we’re not going to show it at the top of News Feed.”
During the run-up to the 2016 elections, a clear bias was shown against conservative posts by Facebook and Trump supporters Diamond and Silk were later banned for being a “danger to the community.” Perhaps Su’s claims are a bit of fake news themselves.
CNN Zeroed In On InfoWars
But CNN was none too happy with the responses it got about InfoWars. The outlet dubbed “Fake News” by the president began running editorial commentary to discredit InfoWars and leverage Facebook into a full ban.
“In recent months, InfoWars has been drawn into the spotlight. For years, the outlet operated in the dark corners of the Internet, spreading conspiracy theories without facing much scrutiny. But as tech giants now grapple with how to prevent their platforms from being used to spread fake news and false information, InfoWars has found itself under pressure,” CNN stated.
According to reports, CNN waged an on-air campaign against InfoWars as well. CNN reportedly told viewers to go online and flag InfoWars YouTube videos after reviewing the video site’s standards and polices. YouTube apparently takes down videos and bans users who seemingly violate its policies with a “three strikes” rule.
CNN broadcast that InfoWars had two strikes and urged their left-wing cohorts to push for a permanent ban.
In the wake of CNN’s anti-free speech campaign, YouTube has banned InfoWars videos and Facebook has deleted numerous posts. Spotify, Google and Apple followed suit in less than 24 hours. The censorship appears to be a coordinated purge of right-leaning speech.
~ Liberty Planet