In an apparent response to Facebook’s banning of far-right agitators, President Trump vowed on Twitter Friday afternoon to closely monitor the situation, calling it censorship.
“I am continuing to monitor the censorship of American citizens on social media platforms,” he tweeted without naming Facebook by name. “This is the United States of America — and we have what’s known as freedom of speech! We are monitoring and watching, closely!!”
I am continuing to monitor the censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS on social media platforms. This is the United States of America — and we have what’s known as FREEDOM OF SPEECH! We are monitoring and watching, closely!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2019
The tweets came a day after Facebook permanently banned Infowars and its founder Alex Jones, Infowars editor Paul Joseph Watson, white nationalist Paul Nehlen and far-right provocateurs Milo Yiannopoulos and Laura Loomer, as well as Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Facebook told media on Thursday that the ban was consistent with its policies against hate speech. “We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” a spokesperson told Variety at the time.
Infowars and Jones have been banned from multiple platforms over their spreading of conspiracy theories, including false claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 was staged. Parents of the victims of the shooting have since filed lawsuits against Infowars, alleging that the site’s repeat spreading of these lies led to death threats against them.
In a follow-up tweet, Trump singled out Watson as well as actor James Woods as supposed victims of social media censorship.
The latter had first gotten into Twitter’s crosshairs last September after reposting a false meme that suggested Democrats were engaging in voter suppression. The social network didn’t actually ban his account, but instead prevented him from posting any new content until he removed the tweet in question. His account was subsequently reinstated, but apparently blocked once again last month over a separate tweet.
Trump hasn’t been the only celebrity to take issue with Facebook’s bans. On Thursday, Snoop Dogg took to Instagram to post a rant against the banning of Louis Farrakhan. “I stand with him,” he could be heard saying in the video. “Ban me, motherf*”