Facebook’s Purge of British Right Wingers Followed Political Pressure

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives at the European Parliament, prior to his audition on the data privacy scandal on May 22, 2018 at the European Union headquarters in Brussels. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)
JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
ALLUM BOKHARI

Facebook has banned Tommy Robinson, along with a wide range of prominent UKIP members and anti-establishment media, just days after he released a documentary alleging cooperation between the purportedly neutral, state-funded BBC and the far-left organization Hope not Hate.

The bans occurred amid pressure from the British government (currently run by the so-called “conservative” party) on social media platforms to do more to combat “hate.” The British digital minister Margot James MP said today that she wants “world-leading tech regulation” for Britain, including massive fines against platforms like Facebook that don’t promptly remove alleged “hate speech.”

British politicians have been agitating for the censure of Tommy Robinson for some time. In November, British members of Parliament urged the U.S. to enact a travel ban against Robinson, citing concerns that he could earn up to $1million from a U.S. speaking tour.

As Breitbart News’ Chris Tomlinson wrote at the time, the effort to get Robinson banned from the U.S. was led by Ruth Smeeth MP, the politician who directs the far-left organization Hope not Hate, a kind of British SPLC.

Hope not Hate, of course, is the same organization that was exposed by Robinson for allegedly collaborating with the purportedly neutral, state-funded BBC in a recent undercover journalism operation. The full video of Robinson’s sting is still on YouTube under the title “Panodrama” — a play on “Panorama,” one of the BBC’s flagship news shows.

The list of populist and right-wing figures banned from Facebook in the wake of Panodrama’s release include Tommy Robinson, the populist news site Politicalite and its editor Jordan James, and UK Independence Party (UKIP) candidate McGuigan, as well as prominent party members Reece Coombes, Darrell Goodliffe, Damien Heads, and Richard Inman.

In the wake of the Facebook purge, MPs have been agitating for Tommy Robinson to be banned from YouTube as well. As the populist critic of Islam is already banned from Twitter, Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram, YouTube is the last major platform where Robinson has a voice.

The British conservative party, as well as the Labour party, seems determined to ensure that Robinson is left without access to the online public square. Damian Collins MP, the conservative chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee said yesterday that YouTube should ban Robinson, accusing the platform of allowing him to spread a “message of hate.”  However, Robinson has never been charged or convicted of violating Britain’s “hate speech” laws.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. You can follow him on TwitterGab.ai and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to allumbokhari@protonmail.com.

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