Top 5 Crackdowns on Conservatives' Internet Free Speech
On Thursday, CEO Brendan Eich of Mozilla was forced out of his job thanks to his $1,000 donation to the Proposition 8 pro-traditional marriage effort in California in 2008. At that point, he held the exact same position as Barack Obama on traditional marriage. Now, that position has soured in the nostrils of the militant left, which seeks to ruin the lives of those with whom it disagrees.
Mozilla’s cave-in to the militants over at OKCupid, a dating site that labeled Eich one of its “enemies” thanks to his position, represents just the latest assault on conservatives in the online space. It’s not illegal for Mozilla to dump Eich nor for OKCupid to call for that ouster – nor should it be – but it is certainly wrong, and in violation of basic principles of free speech that the internet is supposed to guarantee. It is purely Orwellian that Mozilla’s response to Eich’s resignation suggested that ensuring “equality and free speech” led to that resignation.
Unfortunately, such crackdowns on free speech principles have become all too common among members of the leftist online community. Here are the top five examples:
Google Adsense Shuts Down WorldNetDaily. On February 6, Google Adsense notified WorldNetDaily’s Joseph Farah that it would be cancelling WND’s account thanks to a “policy violation email this morning regarding negative/hate speech particularly with the repeated references to ‘black mobs,’ although I don’t know that this is specifically what it’s limited to.” Farah told Breitbart News that Google explained, “The reviewers cited a number articles [sic] with usage of this term specifically and in general asks that no ad code is placed on articles containing hate/anti or sensitive content as this is against Adsense policies and does not provide a good experience for users and advertisers.”
WND’s sin: covering the so-called “knockout game” phenomenon, in which black youths attacked and beat white and Jewish passersby. The phenomenon received national media attention. Apparently observing the race of those participating in the game was enough to put WND on Google Adsense’s banned list.
Kickstarter Shuts Down Campaign to Raise Money for Gosnell Film. This week, Kickstarter informed filmmakers Phelim McAleer and his wife Ann McElhinney that it would not allow them to use purely factual language in their attempt to raise $2.1 million for a movie about mass killer abortionist Kermit Gosnell. McAleer explained:
They asked us to remove the descriptions of a serial killer committing his crimes, but in the Belle Gunness [Kickstarter] project they allowed a picture of a dead body on the project page. In addition Kickstarter has hosted and promoted 16 projects about stabbing. Kickstarter has also hosted 5 projects about incest, one project with the "C" word in the project description, 44 projects about rape and 28 projects with the word F**k or F**king in the title. Some of these projects were based on true stories, some were works of fiction, but all were allowed onto Kickstarter.
Kickstarter gave in but maintained that they could remove the project at any time, even after the donation campaign began. McAleer and McElhinney decided instead to move to indiegogo.com for their project.
Facebook Cracks Down on Gun Photos, Anti-Obama Messages. Earlier last month, VentureBeat reported that Facebook could announce new policies designed to crack down on gun-related fanpages. Sources told VentureBeat, “Talks are progressing [between Facebook and Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action]. The discussions are ongoing; there have been positive developments.”
In October 2012, Facebook shut down the page of a group called Special Operations Speaks after they posted a meme reading, “Obama called the SEALs and THEY got bin Laden. When the SEALs called Obama, THEY GOT DENIED.” The meme received 30,000 shares… until Facebook blocked it. First, Facebook warned the group; then Facebook sent a message: “We removed content you posted. We removed the content you posted or were admin of because it violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.” Facebook later apologized.
Instagram Deletes Gun Posts. Facebook and Instagram announced in early March that it would delete all posts offering to buy or sell guns without a background check, as well as banning users 18 and under from viewing gun offers. Facebook also deleted a photo of a 6-month-old child with a bolt-action rifle across her lap.
Twitter Gulag for Conservatives. This one is a rumor, but a widespread one: many conservatives have complained of their accounts being suspended from Twitter. In fact, it’s been termed entering the “Twitter gulag.” Twitchy has detailed this practice and how to avoid being suspended here.
Again, all of this activity is legal. The question is one of appropriateness. For a group of leftists who prize themselves on the primacy of the open internet to target political opposition is hypocritical at best, and nasty at worst.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.