Prominent conservatives called last week for Facebook to crack down on the left-wing anarchist group antifa in the aftermath of last weekend’s attack in Portland on Oregon journalist Andy Ngo.
The 20 leaders, led by Media Research Center president Brent Bozell, urged Facebook to “live up to its own standards when it comes to standing up to violent and extremist groups like Antifa.”
In an interview with Fox News, Mr. Bozell declared, “Antifa needs to be de-platformed. This is a mistake and I hope Facebook rethinks it.”
“In allowing Antifa to retain its accounts, Facebook is enabling these extremists to commit more violent acts and further spread their hateful message,” said Mr. Bozell in his statement. “Facebook must enforce its policies equally. This is not a partisan issue. There should be no place for violent extremists of any kind on Facebook. Period.”
Antifa groups with thousands of followers are replete on Facebook, one of the social-media platforms used by the left-wing activists to promote “actions,” raise money, and direct followers to the whereabouts of “fascists” at marches and rallies.
For example, the Rose City Antifa in Portland, Oregon, which has more than 21,000 followers, used its Facebook page to advertise the Saturday protest at which Mr. Ngo was pummeled and pelted with milkshakes and eggs by black-clad antifa activists, as shown on video.
My statement on Facebook’s curious unwillingness to take action against violent left-wing terrorist groups on its platform. https://t.co/wNC7O8kMzi pic.twitter.com/brYB2c5PDA
— Brent Bozell (@BrentBozell) July 3, 2019
— Brent Bozell (@BrentBozell) July 3, 2019
The Portland Police Bureau made three arrests and reported “multiple assaults” at the counter-protest, which drew hundreds versus the several dozen who turned out for the Him Too rally. Rose City Antifa accused the department of attempting to smear activists.
“Despite these feeble attempts to create false narratives by PPB and the local Alt Right, those of us there on the ground know that J29 was a success for the people of Portland and showed that we will always stand up to fascism!” said the Sunday post on the Rose City Antifa Facebook page.
In May, Facebook permanently banned right-wing figures Alex Jones, Laura Loomer, Paul Joseph Watson and Milo Yiannapoulos, as well as Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan, citing its policy of removing those who “promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology.”
“Facebook needs to explain why it moves to deplatform and stifle the voices of peaceful conservatives while allowing its platform to be used by radical leftist fascists like Rose City Antifa to organize events that routinely result in violent assaults against innocent bystanders,” said Heartland Institute interim president Jim Lakely.
Tom McCabe, CEO of the Freedom Foundation, said the “hypocrisy is outrageous.”
“That Facebook bans conservatives because the company doesn’t like their words, but Antifa remains in good standing after many examples of destroying property and causing serious harm to other people, tells us everything we need to know about Facebook’s concern for ‘dialogue’ and ‘inclusion,'” he said.
In the month before the November election, Facebook blocked six different campaign ads by the Susan B. Anthony List in support of pro-life candidates, calling them too graphic. The ads were ultimately restored, but pro-life groups said the removals illustrated a bias against abortion foes.
“I know what it’s like for Antifa protestors to try and stop peaceful, pro-life speech, and have had to arrange for security just to address the human rights issue of our day,” said Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins. “For Facebook to block or suppress conservative speech because of a bias against ideas — like helping both mother and preborn baby — while allowing those who advocate for actual violence shows a political bent that ignores common sense and common decency.”
The Washington Times has reached out to Facebook for comment.
During the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security reportedly found that antifa groups were engaged in “domestic terrorist violence.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center has resisted calls to list antifa as a “hate group,” explaining its criteria do not include “propensity for violence,” and that antifa does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, religion or sexual orientation.
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