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EDITORIAL

With the Alex Jones Ban, Does America Need to Rethink Free Speech?

Alex Jones speaking about Infowars.
(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of Citizen Truth.)

A conspiracy theorist was banned from several social media outlets–is this a cause for concern for Americans’ right to free speech?

Last Thursday, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars news network were banned from Facebook, Spotify, YouTube and Apple platforms, in what appeared to be a coordinated effort. The implications of the ban have left some cheering, and others concerned. Jones and his network peddle in conspiracy theories like 9/11 “truths,” as well as the idea that the Sandy Hook Massacre was a hoax, so their audiences (and critics) are bound to be on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to interpreting the reason behind the ban.

The Right to Ban?

One argument that supports the right to ban is that Facebook, Spotify, YouTube and Apple are private platforms that are allowed to ban any person or group for any reason they want–even for no reason at all. It’s a valid argument, and one that conservatives have championed in cases including bakers refusing to provide a cake for a gay wedding, or NFL bosses telling players they cannot kneel for the National Anthem.

However, the majority of people making this argument have also argued that bakers do have to bake cakes for everyone ,and that the NFL cannot tell its players they cannot kneel. Many who have argued against banning Jones and Infowars have argued the opposite in these other cases.

Consistency is key if you want people to believe you are standing on principles.

You could also make the argument that these are not the same types of issues and should not be treated the same way. If you start the process of banning people from platforms because of unpopular speech, the platforms are going to be inundated with requests to ban more people and more groups based on their own disagreement with the published content.

History has shown that appeasement does not stop, but rather accelerates, the desire to get more of what is wanted.

The Right to Be Heard?

The other case to be made is that freedom of speech was enshrined in the Constitution in order to protect unpopular speech, and while the First Amendment does not apply to private businesses, one could contend that companies like Facebook have transcended being “private” and have entered into being public utilities. They have become the “town square” where a person’s voice is able to be heard.

A ban on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram or any combination of those platforms essentially renders one voiceless in an era where people are switching from television and print media into online news.

The ban essentially robs the person of their free speech in our modern, virtual-based world.

Both arguments are valid, but in the opinion of this writer, it is a dangerous and slippery slope when speech begins to be banned, regardless of how repugnant one thinks it is.

 

As Censorship on Social Media & Content Platforms Grows, Opportunities & Frustrations Arise

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Carmine Sabia

Carmine began writing for BizPacReview in 2014 where he found success as a conservative writer. His popularity continued to soar as he gained tens of thousands of followers. He currently works as a managing editor for The Federalist Papers and as a writer and editor for Citizen Truth. ​Carmine has been quoted by Fox News, has been interviewed on television by Tomi Lahren, appeared on BBC Radio, "The Critical Hour" with Dr. Wilmer Leon, Sky News in the UK, NHK in Japan, Power 98.7 South Africa and various other media outlets.

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81 Comments

  1. Mary Anne Young August 9, 2018

    He is not an example of anything but mental health care.

    Reply
  2. Angel Davis August 9, 2018

    Jesus Christ HATE SPEECH IS A CRIME. .. NOT PROTECTED under free speech. STOP GIVING THIS POS A PLATFORM.

    IF THIS IS THE GARBAGE YOU’RE POSTING. YOU’RE JUST AS BAD AS HE IS, AND I WILL UNFOLLOW, BLOCK, & REPORT THIS BULLSHIT, FAST!!!! :/

    Reply
    1. Linda Bednarz August 9, 2018

      Exactly correct! Hate speach is a crime!

  3. Doug Whitmore ~ #TimesUp August 9, 2018

    It’s NOT about the 1st Amendment, it’s about our Culture and ‘making shit up’ pretending it’s ‘free… https://t.co/txl4yZhqvp

    Reply
  4. Melissa Heller-Booth August 9, 2018

    I think some new definitions are called for. The internet is like a giant crowded theater. You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater…. there needs to be some accountability for generating conspiracy theories that hurt people or cause someone to show up at a pizza parlor and shoot someone….

    Reply
  5. Ed Eichner August 9, 2018

    No need because speech that insights violence is not protected, or proven lies

    Reply
  6. Michele oliver August 9, 2018

    What these people say is like yelling fire in a theater, not allowed because it causes a dangerous s… https://t.co/MWcSnAMMJ2

    Reply
  7. Michael S Gregory Sr. August 9, 2018

    No, Jones is a nut and everything he says is a lie or false facts.

    Free Press is reporting what they see and hear.

    Jones makes up his own facts and stories.

    Reply
  8. Wayne Moon August 9, 2018

    We need to work on that….the rules seem to be to loose and not working ???? that’s why talk shows like Alex Jones are around….things just need to be tuned down somewhat !!!

    Reply
  9. TremeRay Smith August 9, 2018

    Truth should be valued.

    Reply
    1. Alan Venturini August 9, 2018

      explain TRUTH from A J ?

  10. Robert Strauss August 9, 2018

    Kind of late to rethink it. You’ve already given( and insisted they take it) the decision to social media.

    Reply
  11. Alan Venturini August 9, 2018

    Sick smart bastard

    Reply
  12. Shirley Hawkins August 9, 2018

    Ass

    Reply
  13. Mike Wethered August 9, 2018

    His eyes seem awfully close together…

    Reply
  14. BioNik Freeman August 9, 2018

    He’s famous for yelling fire in a theatre.. Fuck him

    Reply
  15. Ernest Bratley August 9, 2018

    Free speech does not give you the right to provoke hate and violence. To lie about others and another . To overthrow a government . No it does not allow that .

    Reply
  16. Terence Voigt August 9, 2018

    No! Put back the fairness doctrine and stop all this lying!!!

    Reply
  17. Frank Cromis August 9, 2018

    No

    Reply
  18. Von De Santo August 9, 2018

    Heh free speech he
    Dems lost an election. Pretending to be the thought police got to find dumb rednecks to hold themselves next to you to make them look smart I could have this conversation today and not give a f*** about it tomorrow because motherfukers ain’t worth the time

    Reply
  19. Von De Santo August 9, 2018

    Look across the world mofos acting like fools hurting one another and intern be coming devices of the elite fools hurt their own damn self more than anyone else and then come out and preach yeah me too got to laugh When Fools Rush In And try and have intellectual conversation and f*** themselves off every time no one got nothing to say no one

    Reply
  20. Von De Santo August 9, 2018

    Y’all might as well get to Wrecking each other cuz y’all got nothing to say

    Reply
  21. Von De Santo August 9, 2018

    Oh wait not done yet what is up with these fool writers they think they can throw a few angles together and they think they’re coming up? Maybe they need to have some kind of Licensing 4 want to be journalist and fools who suck at the game y’all suck at democracy
    Nuff said

    Reply
  22. Jimmy Osherow August 9, 2018

    Change it to …Free truth….. fiction has a price.

    Reply
  23. Jerome Herzing August 9, 2018

    We need more honest free speach and we need it now

    Reply
  24. Mike Thelen August 9, 2018

    Not so much limit free speech as penalties for blatant public lies.

    Reply
  25. Robbi Douglass August 9, 2018

    no

    Reply
  26. Hector Roldan August 9, 2018

    Free speech doesn’t mean that you give a for profit platform to hate mongering.

    Reply
  27. Carrie Beard August 9, 2018

    Lies are not free speech. They’re just lies.

    Reply
  28. Kathy Holley August 9, 2018

    His was hate speech and propaganda. You can say whatever you want as long as you are willing to take responsibility for the words you choose!

    Reply
  29. Juan Platen August 9, 2018

    Think like an ancient Roman…”Who does he hold dear”?! Machiavelli

    Reply
  30. Juan Platen August 9, 2018

    Who and where are they?…that is how you shut their shitholes from word flapping

    Reply
  31. Fred Nightwalker August 9, 2018

    No

    Reply
  32. Bob Burge August 9, 2018

    Alex jones is free to prove just what a know nothing POS he is! And we are all free to laugh our collective asses off!

    Reply
  33. Scott Stowell August 9, 2018

    Free speech is a lot different than total BATSHIT CRAZY hate speech .
    That nutjob needs a full gag order .

    Reply
  34. Mike Davis August 9, 2018

    Ban? Who says he banned? You hateful far right scumbags wouldn’t know how freedom of speech works if it grabbed you by the pussy! ????

    Reply
  35. Olga I. Rodriguez August 9, 2018

    Hate speech and free speech are two very different things.

    Reply
  36. JoAnn Connor August 9, 2018

    This guy should be banned from all platforms. He’s a hateful, racist ass. Telling his lemmings Sandy Hook was fake put the final nails in this idiot’s coffin. What a slug…. He’s so full of hatred, he’ll probably die of a heart attack, stroke or aneurysm.

    Reply
  37. Susan Dow August 9, 2018

    Absolutely not. This POS spews nothing but hate and out right lies that have dire consequences! He needs to be held accountable.

    Reply
  38. Johnny Osterdock August 9, 2018

    Free speech is one thing which that’s cool but having some a****** up there saying that the Jews didn’t get an Isle a damn near wiped out and the concentration camps never happened and school shootings was a hoax that’s not free speech that’s some a****** getting up there trying to cover lies up need to keep free speech and pure out wise separate our forefathers didn’t fight for people like that they’re to be able to get up and say they weren’t worth nothing they didn’t protect us they never stood up that’s what free speech is all about not some guy up there wanting to whip lies and our young people’s lives saying I’m saying stupid s*** like that

    Reply
  39. Michaele Brown Smith August 9, 2018

    No. Why should hatred and lies be acceptable?

    Reply
  40. Michael Sharnet August 9, 2018

    Not rethink just learn and understand.

    Reply
  41. Grant Schock August 9, 2018

    Jones abuses free speech, makes up conspiracies, and blatantly lies.

    Reply
  42. Vernon Howard August 10, 2018

    Bye BUFFOON

    Reply
  43. Shane 🇺🇸 August 14, 2018

    He does rock a beard tho

    Reply
  44. Kathy Damore August 14, 2018

    He’s not banned from speaking his lies, only on certain platforms. If you want to hear his dangerous bullshit, go listen to him in a diner.

    Reply
  45. Ray Fatig August 14, 2018

    Free Speech, no. Changing the rules of Broadcasting, yes.

    Reply
  46. Ashley Manzy August 14, 2018

    Now that we live in a service driven society. The market is determining the backlash bigots face. I personally don’t want to put racist back in the closet. I want to know who you are. But, we need to end the corporate control of the media and internet. We need to make them
    Public utilities. For every Alex Jones being banned there’s still more black and brown voices being monitored and banned.

    Reply
  47. MAAT August 14, 2018

    Free speech is totally misunderstood,and as a simil we can see the public places.Some believe that b… https://t.co/0VoIoASWUz

    Reply
  48. No if you’re on social media follow the rules of the social media site.

    Reply
  49. TremeRay Smith August 14, 2018

    Yes

    Reply
  50. Carrie Beard August 14, 2018

    No. Freedom of speech has never included the freedom to intentionally spread outright lies.

    Reply
  51. Linda Bednarz August 14, 2018

    NO! Free Speach is important to our democracy! What this administration is doing is NOT free speach! Free speach is not lies! It is having the right to tell the truth! Slander and falsehoods are already illegal!

    Reply
  52. Mark Samuels August 14, 2018

    He’s not a true American.

    Reply
  53. Louise Dodson August 14, 2018

    Does America need to rethink Alex Jones

    Reply
    1. Sandra Dodson August 14, 2018

      No way. What a scumbag he is. Plug him up.

  54. Bob Fink August 14, 2018

    No! He still gets to say what he wants. Just now he doesn’t get a great big platform to express his nonsense. He can just go out on the street or in a bar and mouth off all he wants.

    Reply
    1. Ed Eichner August 14, 2018

      And he can get the shit kicked out of him , but he’s a coward like trump

  55. Ed Eichner August 14, 2018

    No , but hate speeches are not protected under free speach

    Reply
    1. Kevin Hill August 14, 2018

      It’s free SPEECH, not free loving compliments

    2. Ed Eichner August 14, 2018

      Kevin Hill what are you trying to say? That you disagree with me , well any hate speech that causes game to others is not protected

  56. Sean Eoghan Hughes August 14, 2018

    Twitter just took Ron Paul down! He only preaches freedom! Smh

    Reply
  57. Jason Self August 14, 2018

    No. We need to rethink government.

    Reply
  58. Mike Murray August 14, 2018

    No, we need to think free speech, not “rethink” it.

    Reply
  59. John Faucette August 14, 2018

    Only idiots are happy with what is happening. Don’t worry they be silencing you soon.

    Reply
  60. Nathaniel Stacy August 14, 2018

    They only banned hate rhetoric, he is free to be as displeased as he wishes but they do not have to air his hate.

    Reply
  61. Robert Stoll August 14, 2018

    WE DON’T NEED TO RE-THINK IT, WE NEED TO ASSERT IT.,

    Reply
  62. Paul Bruner August 14, 2018

    There’s a difference between Free Speech and acting like a little child having a tantrum.

    Reply
  63. Brenda Williams August 14, 2018

    Slander is not free speech . It is a pack of lies

    Reply
  64. Todd Richey August 14, 2018

    No. Hate speech yes!

    Reply
  65. Barb Furry-Holleman August 15, 2018

    No. Omg WTH. Stop the madness

    Reply
  66. Josh Schwien September 26, 2018

    What part of FREE speech is confusing. It doesn’t mean if someone says something you don’t like or disagree with you can have them silenced. It means ppl are free to say what they want regardless of who it offends it their right

    Reply
  67. Larry L. Cunningham September 26, 2018

    We know what hate speech is!

    Reply
    1. Fix America First September 26, 2018
  68. Dustin Glenn September 26, 2018

    Yea, he should be hired back because he was on a platform where he exercised his free speech for entertainment of others. Regardless if people agreed or felt offended, its free speech. Suck it up and fuck off. Not a fan btw.

    Reply
    1. David Fletcher September 26, 2018

      Dustin Glenn If you find threatening others with death to be “entertainment,” it’s likely that you’re lying when you pretend to not be a fan. Suck it up and crawl back into your rat hole.

    2. Edgar Paz September 26, 2018

      Free speeches protects you from the government. Hate speech doesn’t protect you from the reactions of the public. Two very different things sir.

  69. David Fletcher September 26, 2018

    No, because there have always been limits on free speech. We mostly need to return to acknowledging this.

    Reply
  70. Ted Ross Woizeski September 26, 2018

    I would ask, “Do you have a right, as a CEO of a world-accessed fully public super media spider web network to simply ban folks, at your whim?” Too much power, not to be regulated, folks.

    Reply
  71. Mike Davis September 26, 2018

    Still don’t get it

    Reply
  72. N Wade Davis September 26, 2018

    Are the servers not letting him have Infowars? No. Can you still have his site pop up in every simple Google query? Yes. Can you still type the address into the URL bar? Yes. Fucking duh.
    Is third party platforms not letting him use their service censorship? No. Neither is kicking some yelling lunatic off of your porch. Quit saying it is. The ubiquity of certain platforms is in no small part the fault of the consumer.

    Reply

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