Facebook is under fire this week after it was discovered that the company has allowed Rose City Antifa, a violent group associated with riots for many years, to maintain a Facebook page despite the company’s controversial program to take down certain sites.
As will come as no surprise to many on this blog, I would not have the page taken down on free speech grounds. My greatest fear is not Antifa (which I have criticized for years) but the growing censorship of the Internet. While I recently testified about Antifa, and specifically Rose City Antifa, as part of a violent anti-free speech movement, I have opposed declaring them terrorist organizations and believe that their speech should be protected.
While Facebook is a private company not subject to the First Amendment’s limits, it should adhere to free speech values on the Internet.
RCA is arguably the oldest Antifa group in the United States and was founded in Portland. In 2013, various groups that were part of The Anti-Racist Action Network (ARA), including RCA, formed a new coordinating organization referred to as the “Torch Network.” This lack of structure not only appealed to the anarchist elements in the movement but served the practical benefit of evading law enforcement and lawsuits. While some have attempted to hold such members accountable, like journalist Andy Ngo who sued RCA for assaulting him, such lawsuits struggle with finding witnesses and assets for an effective case.
Under Facebook’s “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy” the company pledged to “address organizations and movements that have demonstrated significant risks to public safety.” It has removed a number of far right and far left groups. – READ MORE
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