On Wednesday morning, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell released an open letter calling on Facebook to drop its hypocrisy with regard to the pages on the site that get banned and those deemed uncontroversial. In this case, Facebook removed and banned groups connected to the QAnon conspiracy theory. Yet, the social media outlet does nothing to stop the radical Antifa organization. Bozell called it "a dangerous double standard of the gravest order."
Here is the full letter from Bozell to congressional leaders and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce:
October 14, 2020
House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Ranking Member Walden
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Pallone and Ranking Member Walden:
Last Tuesday, October 6, Facebook took the extraordinary step of removing and banning pages and groups on their platforms related to the QAnon conspiracy movement. At the same time, Facebook continues to allow the radical, domestic terror organization Antifa to post content and organize on its platform. QAnon is an unhinged conspiracy movement - which I do not support and have no association with. Nonetheless, If Facebook bans pages and groups on their platform promoting conspiracy theories like QAnon, it ought to do the same with those perpetrating violence like Antifa.
Antifa was condemned by the U.S. Senate in a resolution on July 18, 2020. And for good reason. Antifa has been responsible for countless acts of violence and destruction. For the past two years, they have been rioting, causing massive amounts of property damage, assaulting police and innocent bystanders with deadly weapons, and generally flouting the law. According to Property Claim Services, property damage from both Antifa and Black Lives Matter-organized riots is estimated to be as high as $2 billion. That figure grows daily. America hasn’t seen such sustained violence since the Civil War.
Despite all this and the undeniably radical violent nature of Antifa, Facebook mentions Antifa only one time in their statement on August 19 regarding “Movements and Organizations Tied to Violence.” In follow-up statements on September 30 and October 6, Facebook condemns only QAnon with no mention whatsoever of Antifa. Though taking some initial actions to restrict Antifa since August 19, Facebook has refused to take serious steps to remove Antifa from their platform. According to a recent October 12, 2020 MRC report:
- Facebook has allowed Antifa to organize on its pages. In one particularly foul example, an Antifa page administrator openly fantasized about assassinating President Donald Trump. One administrator for Western New York Anti-Fascist Action wrote in a comment that assassinations of American presidents have “happened not once, not twice, but four times already.” This was written in the comments section alongside a meme showing a bounty hunter character from the Disney series The Mandalorian with the caption: “Literally everyone when they hear about the $80m bounty Iran put on Trump.” Western New York Anti-Fascist Action is a prime example because it frequently posts about political violence, whether by Molotov cocktails or guillotines.
- Antifa organizations, such as Rose City Antifa, have been called out by The Washington Post for allegedly assaulting Post Millennial Editor-At-Large Andy Ngo. Other groups, such as Antifa-related activist organization All Out DC, reportedly spread posters with the personal information of Fox News host Tucker Carlson, in an effort to “Block the Alt-Right.” Smash Racism DC allegedly broke Carlson’s door and threatened his wife as well. Both pages remain untouched on Facebook.
- Facebook also allowed Shut Down DC and Sunrise DC to organize a protest via a Facebook event page that listed U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham’s (R-SC) purported address and called upon supporters to protest at his house.
- Antifa continues to break Facebook rules, cause damage, and dox Republicans. Facebook announced that, in regards to “militia organizations and those encouraging riots, including some who may identify as Antifa,” it had removed “over 980 groups, 520 Pages and 160 ads from Facebook.” They also claim to have “restricted over 1,400 hashtags related to these groups and organizations on Instagram.” Yet, pages were allowed to dox Sen. Graham recently without any suspension or ban.
And these are but the tip of the iceberg. As our report lays out in detail, many more examples of sites and pages which promote Antifa, and which are just as shocking, abound on Facebook.
The implication is clear: Facebook is allowing Antifa’s pages on their platform because Facebook condones Antifa and its actions. But, it targets QAnon because its members have supported the president. This blatant, hypocritical, and deliberate act of censorship must not stand.
It is a dangerous double standard of the gravest order, perpetrated by one of the largest, most dominant social media platforms in the world. Facebook, along with Twitter and Google-YouTube, have a chokehold on the public conversation. Facebook alone has over 2.6 billion users worldwide. With such massive power and sway over public opinion, Facebook’s ideologically-driven decision to quash QAnon on its platforms, while boosting Antifa, must be addressed immediately by Congress. Such acts to throttle free speech are an existential threat to our republic and threaten to undermine our upcoming presidential election.
If Facebook wanted to get rid of groups like QAnon because they posed a threat to a healthy online conversation, consistency demands Facebook take similar action against Antifa. These most recent actions by Facebook to silence voices it disagrees with are why reform of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is crucial. Facebook has become a clear and present danger to free speech.
On behalf of the more than 70 organizations which make up the Free Speech Alliance, I look forward to hearing your response.
L. Brent Bozell III
Founder and President