The UK-based Index on Censorship organization has slammed Big Tech’s banning of Infowars, releasing a statement asserting that all “provocative” speech should be protected.
Infowars was banned on numerous platforms starting Sunday night in a coordinated purge, including YouTube, Facebook, Apple, Spotify, Pinterest, MailChimp and even Disqus.
The Index on Censorship, which is chaired by award-winning London Times journalist David Aaronovitch, released a statement decrying the ban.
Index believes that all speech – eccentric, contentious, heretical, unwelcome, provocative and even bigoted – should be protected unless it directly incites violence.
Social media and tech companies — as private entities — have the right to set whatever terms they choose, but the patchwork, inconsistent and opaque terms of service approach to policing speech online leaves them open to political and societal pressures. We strongly encourage the adoption of terms of service policies that maintain the widest possible scope for free speech online.
This means we – as users – will have to tolerate the fraudulent, the offensive and the idiotic. The ability to express contrary points of view, to call out racism, to demand retraction and to highlight obvious hypocrisy depend on the ability to freely share information across the evenest possible playing field.
Any other course of action will – in the end – diminish everyone’s right to free expression.
Alex Jones, Infowars and the internet. Index believes that all speech – eccentric, contentious, heretical, unwelcome, provocative and even bigoted – should be protected unless it directly incites violence. https://t.co/xvmyTiJ8q7 via @IndexCensorship
— Index on Censorship (@IndexCensorship) August 8, 2018
The group’s message was echoed by top attorney David A. French, who wrote a piece for the New York Times in which he argued that Big Tech colluding to ban Infowars should leave people “deeply concerned” because it was a likely abuse of power.
Dr. Robert Epstein also defended Infowars during a Breitbart News town hall on Internet freedom last night.
“Who on Earth gave these private companies the power to make decisions about what everyone in the world is going to see or not see?” asked Epstein, adding that Big Tech had become too powerful and now has the influence to shift millions of votes in national elections through censorship and algoirthm manipulation.
“Nobody has thought this through. There are no relevant laws or regulations in place, at least in the United States. If people really started thinking about this, they would realize – again, no matter what their feelings are about Donald Trump, or Alex Jones, or anyone else – wait a minute, these companies shouldn’t have that power, period,” said Epstein.
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