Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) warned on Thursday that Americans who post critical comments about illegal immigration on Facebook could be censored for publishing “hate speech.”
Smith made his remarks at a House Judiciary Committee hearing examining “social media filtering and policing practices.”
Citing a Media Research Center report that noted that Facebook had censored right-of-center outlets like Breitbart News and the Washington Examiner, Smith said Facebook’s new guidelines on “hate speech” and “fake news” appear to “protect illegal immigrants.”
Smith said Americans who post on Facebook that “illegal immigrants should return to their home country” or claim that an illegal immigrant who receives government benefits without paying taxes is a “free rider” are likely to be censored for posting “hate speech.”
The Texas Congressman noted that a 2017 Gallup poll found that nearly 60 percent of Americans were worried about illegal immigration.
“So if those Americans were to post their concerns on Facebook, they would be accused of hate speech,” Smith said. “A majority of Americans could be censored under Facebook’s guidelines.”
Smith added that censorship of conservative viewpoints by social media organizations is becoming “more frequent” and its “consequences more serious” as outlets like Facebook and Twitter are removing or shadow-banning conservatives who do not adhere to the political views favored by the tech companies.
Smith suggested that if social media companies continue to silence conservative viewpoints, right-of-center Americans should “support alternative platforms” or boycott the biased media.”