Source: Kurt Zindulka
Britain’s Socialist Workers Party (SWP) was censored from Facebook on Friday, as Silicon Valley tech giants turn their censorship apparatus upon the radical left in the U.S. and the UK.
The leftist party claimed in a statement that they were “silenced” by Facebook for expressing opposition to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and expressing support for Black Lives Matter and Palestine. Facebook did not give a reason for shutting down the SWP’s page.
Facebook “bowed to pressure” from “socialists, trade unionists and campaigners”, and reinstated the party’s main page after a short period, the SWP said in a statement.
The far-left party went on to complain that “dozens of SWP activists and local branch pages remain suspended”, however, and called on the tech giant to reinstate their accounts “immediately”.
“We’re now calling for all Facebook to restore all of the remaining profiles and pages—the site should not be shutting down our voices,” the Socialist Workers Party said.
Following the ban, Reform UK leader Nigel Farage remarked: “Maybe this will teach the radical left a lesson about censorship.”
The SWP shot back: “Hey Nigel you racist bigot — we’re back on Facebook. Another loss for you and your mate Trump. Now get back in your box.”
The SWP went on to suggest that they are against big tech censorship, pointing to an article in the far-left newspaper the Socialist Worker — which is published in the United Kingdom by the SWP — in which they warned that Big Tech censorship may be turned against leftist activists.
The Trotskyist party seemingly backtracked on their alleged principled stance later, however, sharing a post on social media which said: “Far-right social media being shut down for inciting violence and hatred is not the same as [the SWP’s Facebook] being shut down for just being far-left.”
Unlike the prompt about-face from Facebook on the banning of the SWP, the Silicon Valley giant has said that it has “no plans to lift” the suspension of Donald Trump from their site. Executives at the site have also reportedly claimed that the blacklisting of Mr Trump stopped a “coup“.
Counter-extremism campaigner Maajid Nawaz said of the action against the SWP: “Many cheered banning Trump while some of us screamed from the rooftops that this is where it was headed. Defending a principle is not defending the person. That’s a basic tenet of human rights.”
“Have we hit your red line yet folks?” Nawaz questioned.
Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it would be expanding its censorship purge, barring advertisements for firearm accessories in the United States as well as removing any posts containing “Stop the Steal” rhetoric.
Following the inauguration of Joe Biden, the Big Tech giants have seemingly become more active in targeting far-left groups for censorship as well, with journalist Andy Ngo reporting that several high profile Antifa accounts were purged from Twitter following inauguration day riots in Portland by militant leftist groups.
Commenting on the bannings, journalist and free speech advocate Glenn Greenwald said: “The only thing that’s going to be left on the internet are CNN, Morning Joe, Vox and #KHive memes,” adding: “Congrats to all who urged this system.”
A spokesman for Facebook told the Express: “We continue to strengthen our enforcement by identifying additional militarised social movements, new terms associated with QAnon and how people attempt to skirt our detection, including focusing more on Facebook profiles used to organise and promote these movements and groups on our platform.”
“We’ll continue consulting experts to inform our strategy and will identify and remove content accordingly. These groups are constantly working to avoid our enforcement and we’ll continue to study how they evolve in order to keep people safe.”