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story.lead_photo.caption President Donald Trump speaks during a National Day of Prayer event in the Rose Garden of the White House, Thursday, May 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

STERLING, Va. -- President Donald Trump criticized social media companies after Facebook banned a number of extremist figures, declaring that he was "monitoring and watching" the companies.

Trump, who tweeted and re-tweeted complaints Friday and Saturday, said he would "monitor the censorship of American citizens on social media platforms." He has previously asserted that social media companies exhibit bias against conservatives, something the companies have rejected as untrue.

"This is the United States of America -- and we have what's known as freedom of speech!" Trump tweeted Friday.

The president's comments came after Facebook last week banned black nationalist minister Louis Farrakhan, Infowars owner Alex Jones and others, saying they violated its ban on "dangerous individuals."

Facebook also removed right-wing personalities Paul Nehlen, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson and Laura Loomer, along with Infowars, which often posts conspiracy theories online. The latest bans apply both to Facebook's main service and to its Instagram division, and extend to fan pages and other related accounts.

The social media giant said it has "always banned" people or groups that proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence, regardless of political ideology.

Watson, a British radio host and YouTube personality who goes by the Twitter handle PrisonPlanet, was among those banned on Facebook and Instagram. He tweeted Thursday that Trump should take action against Facebook.

On Saturday, Trump retweeted a message from the 36-year-old urging his followers to "keep up the pressure," and a second of Watson wondering whether the word "dangerous" better described his opinions "or giving a handful of giant partisan corporations the power to decide who has free speech."

Also retweeted Saturday were posts by Lauren Southern, a far-right Canadian political activist, and Jeremy Boreing, a filmmaker who directed The Arroyo, a 2014 movie about vigilante justice on the U.S.-Mexican border. Boreing also contributes to The Daily Wire, a conservative news and opinion website that he co-founded with political commentator Ben Shapiro.

On Twitter, Trump cited a number of individuals he said were being unfairly treated by social media companies, including actor James Woods and social media personalities "Diamond and Silk." The president said it was "getting worse and worse for Conservatives on social media!"

Woods, one of Hollywood's most outspoken conservatives, has had his Twitter account locked. Twitter spokesman Katie Rosborough said Woods will need to delete a tweet that violated Twitter rules before he can be reinstated.

Woods' tweet, written shortly after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, was, "If you try to kill the King, you better not miss. #HangThemAll."

Trump tweeted: "How can it be possible that James Woods (and many others), a strong but responsible Conservative Voice, is banned from Twitter? Social Media & Fake News Media, together with their partner, the Democrat Party, have no idea the problems they are causing for themselves. Very unfair!"

Trump also retweeted actress Mindy Robinson, who argued that Woods was suspended from Twitter for quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, who wrote, "When you strike at a king, you must kill him."

Rosborough said Twitter enforces its rules "impartially for all users, regardless of their background or political affiliation."

Trump, who uses Twitter extensively to push his message, recently met with Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey at the White House after attacking the company and complaining that it was not treating him well because he was a Republican. Trump later described it as a "great meeting."

Also Saturday, the president called for the "Radical Left Wing Media" to apologize for what he called the "Russian Collusion Delusion."

Information for this article was contributed by Ros Krasny and Kim Chipman of Bloomberg News; and by staff members of The Associated Press.

A Section on 05/05/2019

Print Headline: Social-media blocks incite Trump


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Archived Comments

  • JakeTidmore
    May 5, 2019 at 1:33 p.m.

    Freedom of speech really doesn't apply in this case. FB is a private business with a right to set its own rules. Normally, Republicans are gung ho about this but apparently not if it comes to promoting hatred and lies, what the extremist on the right have taken to labeling "entertainment."

  • Retirednwsman
    May 5, 2019 at 1:38 p.m.

    Whine...whine...whine Trumpy.

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    May 5, 2019 at 2:24 p.m.

    Jake widmore you liar.
    Jake Gilmore is a stockholder I guarantee it.
    Not only is it a publicly traded conpany, and I realise that doesn't preclude it from being private, but it has also declared itself a public utility. The owner lives in CHINA. More lies from the left. Beware beware the time is short.

  • Seitan
    May 5, 2019 at 4:56 p.m.

    I bet Trump hurt his tiny, elfin hands twittering in such a state.

  • JakeTidmore
    May 5, 2019 at 6:42 p.m.

    Looks like you're the one with pants on fire BF. I checked and discovered this from a right wing site:

    "A publicly traded company is not the same as public property, akin to a city sidewalk or a national park. Offering shares on an open stock exchange does open up a firm to more scrutiny, but it does not and should not make the firm's internal decisions up for grabs to any passing politician."

    Source: htt ps:// m/2018/10/11/publicly-traded-companies-are
    Here's the summary from the article:
    "To review: Publicly traded companies are private property held by members of the public who are private citizens. Public utilities generate public goods, but so do private firms. None of this means corporate governance should be subject to veto by public officials. Easy, right?"
    I also speak from personal experience. I manage a classroom website thru Class Creator. We have a Message Forum where classmates can post messages to each other. We had a rule that posts were not to discuss politics or religion since that was not the purpose of the site.
    Both Class Creator and a legal friends told me that I was well within my rights to do so.
    So, call me a liar all you want. It won't even get you in the ball park much less up to bat.

  • wolfman
    May 5, 2019 at 10:10 p.m.

    But yet trump wants to censor the press. He’s a hypocrite