The hosts of The View” had a moment of clarity on a Facebook ban of “dangerous” political figures, wondering about the “slippery slope” that the decision creates.
The ABC talk show hosts on Friday’s episode of “The View” debated the ban on Facebook and Instagram this week of controversial figures including Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan, Laura Loomer and Milo Yiannopoulos.
(Video: ABC The View)
“Not that I want to hear from any of them, but does this violate their First Amendment rights, is what I want to know, because they’re not allowed now to spew their hatred on any Facebook page,” Joy Behar asked, noting that the social media giant is “making good on their promise to combat hate speech.”
Co-host Sunny Hostin pointed out that, as a private company, Facebook “can monitor their own content” and make whatever decisions they deem appropriate for their company, “so the First Amendment doesn’t apply to that.” But she admitted she was not comfortable with the move.
“I disagree certainly with all those — the platforms that those people that have been banned have, but it just does make me uncomfortable that you have this private organization being able to take away the speech of private individuals. There’s just something about it that makes me — makes the lawyer in me extremely uncomfortable,” Hostin, legal analyst for ABC News and a former prosecutor, said.
Guest host Ana Navarro was not as worried about the private individuals, extremist groups and organizations who were banned by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly not complying with the company’s standards.
“I have no issue with it at all. I want them shut down, I want them silenced, I want them muted. I think they’re horrible for our society,” Navarro said. “The First Amendment argument is very powerful, and it’s something that is so unique to America. But it’s not unlimited. It’s not unrestricted. In law school you learn about the screaming fire in a crowded theater – if it’s something that endangers people, if it’s something that will end up hurting people, there are restrictions that can be imposed.”
Hostin interjected that there are “Some, very minor,” as Navarro predicted that the ban would probably end up being challenged in a courtroom.
Behar wondered aloud if the ban would lead to unintended consequences affecting those like Minnesota Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar who has been accused of hate speech for her anti-Semitic comments.
“Don’t you feel that it’s a slippery slope?” Behar posited. “You can say Ilhan Omar can’t be on there now. The left won’t like that.”
“It scares me almost more than anything about the future of society, the future of this country,” co-host Abby Hunstman responded, noting the problems with the culture of social media.
“We didn’t grow up with this. It’s not just inspiring attacks. It’s bullying. It’s isolating. It’s making it so we don’t have that human connection,” she said. “It’s actually much bigger than being able to block a few voices that spew hate.”
“To have a private company be able to exclude certain Americans from that platform, there’s just something that makes me extremely uncomfortable with it,” Hostin remarked.
President Trump blasted Facebook and Twitter in a series of tweets Friday, slamming the social media platforms for silencing content from actor James Woods, conservative commentator Paul Joseph Watson and conservative activists Diamond and Silk.
Trump, and Don Jr come out hard against big tech’s ‘terrifying’ move to censor Conservatives https://t.co/M75cpXVXlk
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) May 4, 2019
Trump warned that he is “monitoring and watching, closely!!” condemning what he called the violation of freedom of speech.
“The View” co-host Meghan McCain questioned if there could be “an anti-trust argument that they’re so big and they have so much power,” referring to Facebook.
“Is that an argument they’re too big and they have too much control?” she asked, noting that 68 percent of people get their news from Facebook.
She argued that Facebook still has a long way to go if judging by the live-streaming of the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand in March.
“Clearly it’s not good enough. My problem is the radicalization of home-grown terrorist here and also people who are being radicalized by things like ISIS and al-Queda and using American platforms,” McCain said.
Behar pointed to what she called “excesses” in the First and Second Amendments, arguing that the “forefathers didn’t say you can say all sorts of hateful things and literally spread it around the world through the Internet.”