Facebook Silent on Banning Antifa After Portland Violence Against Andy Ngo
On Wednesday, 19 conservative leaders called on Facebook to apply its Community Standards against antifa, deplatforming the group in the wake of the violent assault on Quillette editor Andy Ngo in Portland, Ore. last weekend. PJ Media reached out to Facebook for comment, but Facebook has remained silent on the issue. Facebook has banned Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys, but it seems unwilling to extend the same ban to violent leftists intent on punching "Nazis."
Various groups on Facebook have named themselves antifa, affiliating with the violent movement. Rose City Antifa, the group responsible for the unlawful assembly leading up to the beating of Andy Ngo (which gave him brain bleed), is indeed one of these groups, although a Facebook search for them will not bring up the group.
The Rose City Antifa Facebook page posted a statement defending the violent attack on Ngo. Conservatives condemned the group's continued presence on Facebook.
"Rose City Antifa uses its Facebook page to foment hate and train their goons on tactics to anonymously harrass, disrupt, and assault anyone who disagrees with their radical agenda," Jim Lakely, interim president of the Heartland Institute, said in a statement. "The latest result is the attack on journalist Andy Ngo – which is not fake news, is not merely words that people claim is hurtful, but is a serious and violent crime."
"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," Lakely declared.
"By continuing to allow Antifa related groups to spew hate on its platform, Facebook executives and its board of directors are now tacitly encouraging violence against conservatives," Justin Danhof, general counsel at the National Center for Public Policy Research, said. Danhof engages with companies by attending shareholder meetings and asking tough questions about liberal bias. He has proposed that Facebook put a balance of liberals and conservatives on its board.
"Facebook’s opposition to my proposal seeking ideological balance on the company’s board is proof positive that it has no interest in hearing from conservatives. But this latest instance of Antifa violence against conservative journalist Andy Ngo – and Facebook’s unwillingness to take down Antifa pages – proves that the company needs to hear from conservatives if it’s going to operate as a neutral platform," Danhof concluded.
"The Antifa-led assaults in Portland this past weekend were not the first instance of violence from this militant-leftist group. Antifa’s core principles condone and encourage the harassment and physical assault of those that disagree with their beliefs. The Department of Homeland Security has classified their activities as 'domestic terrorist violence,'" Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center (MRC), wrote in a statement.
He argued that Facebook's "community standards certainly condemn violence and they claim to have 'always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology.' And yet no action has been taken to de-platform this domestic terrorist organization."
"In allowing Antifa to retain its accounts, Facebook is enabling these extremists to commit more violent acts and further spread their hateful message," Bozell charged. "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."
Jenny Beth Martin, president of Tea Party Patriots, argued that the case of Andy Ngo "clearly demonstrates the lack of appreciation that the left and Antifa thugs have for our constitution and our 1st Amendment rights. ... Americans should wake up to the threat to our 1st Amendment liberties coming from everyone from Facebook de-platforming conservatives to violence against mainstream conservatives."
"Facebook allows AntiFa, the flipside of the same coin as Neo Nazism," Raheem Kassam, editor-in-chief of Human Events, declared. "And yet they routinely ban middle of the road conservatives, including gay, Muslim, black, and other minorities simply because they’re on the political right. If Facebook wants to highlight why they deserve no legislative protections like S230 of the Communications Decency Act, and should be treated as a biased monopoly, they could do no better favor to us than continuing this heinous practise."
Amy Kremer, co-chair of Women for Trump, said Facebook has "blood on their hands."
"Facebook's refusal to remove Antifa and these leftist hate filled groups from their platform, shows their support of these groups and their actions," she declared. "Facebook has blood on their hands and should be held accountable."
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, shared her personal experiences facing antifa on America's college campuses. "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. 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," she said.
"For all the attacks leveled at groups like ours – who just want less government intrusion in our lives, and to be left alone to enjoy our family and friends – the real dangers to freedom are those like Antifa who perpetuate violence against people they disagree with politically, and platforms like Facebook who support them by giving them a semblance of credibility," Tom McCabe, CEO of the Freedom Foundation, said in a statement. "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’. The hypocrisy is outrageous."
"Antifa has no business operating and organizing their riots and violence on Facebook and other social media platforms," Brigitte Gabriel, founder and president of ACT for America, declared. "For years now, Antifa has demonstrated to be a radical left-wing terror organization that regularly uses violence and intimidation tactics to silence their political enemies. Is this the type of people Facebook wants to enable? Are these the kind of events Facebook wants to play a role in organizing?"
"Freedom of Speech is vital, and Facebook should never ban organizations and people simply for being controversial. They should ban them for engaging in acts of domestic terror," Gabriel concluded.
While it may be impractical for Facebook to ban every single group that identifies itself as "antifa" in some way, it does not seem unreasonable for Facebook to ban Rose City Antifa after the violence against Andy Ngo.
Facebook's silence on this issue is disgusting.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.