Donald Trump Jr on Friday charged that Facebook had engaged in a "purposeful & calculated silencing of conservatives" online, a day after the social-networking giant permanently banned far-right figures and organisations including Alex Jones, the host of InfoWars.
While Trump Jr did not mention Jones or others by name, the president's eldest son broadly said that unspecified actions by Facebook and "the rest of the Big Tech monopoly men should terrify everyone."
"It appears they're taking their censorship campaign to the next level," Trump Jr tweeted.
Spokespeople for Facebook and Trump Jr did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Thursday, Facebook announced it had permanently banned users including Lous Farrakhan, the founder of the nation of Islam who has been accused of anti-Semitism, along with far-right figures Milo Yiannopoulos and Laura Loomer. The tech giant removed their accounts, fan pages and affiliated groups on Facebook as well as its photo-sharing service Instagram, charging that their presence on the social networking sites had become "dangerous."
In doing so, Facebook pointed to its efforts to remove users who "promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology." Before its permanent ban, Facebook had taken more limited action targeting users such as Jones, who has threatened journalists and attacked the victims of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Jones and others sharply criticised Facebook for its decision.
Trump Jr's tweet marked his latest criticism of tech companies on grounds that they silence conservatives, a charge that Facebook, Google and Twitter long have denied. The fears pervade the upper echelons of the Republican Party, even prompting GOP lawmakers to hold a series of hearings over the past two years to probe if Silicon Valley censors right-leaning users and news.
President Donald Trump similarly has accused popular social-networking sites of exhibiting political bias, and he's repeatedly threatened to regulate Silicon Valley in response. In a private meeting with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey last month, for example, Trump repeatedly raised his fears that the company has removed some of his followers, the Post previously reported. Twitter long has maintained that a user's follower accounts fluctuate in response to its efforts to combat spam on the site.
© The Washington Post 2019