During a recent appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Democratic Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard discussed the growing power of social media companies and their effect on free speech on the Internet. Gabbard claimed during the interview that social media firms such as Facebook and Twitter regularly appear to remove political speech they disagree with from their platforms.
Gabbard told host Joe Rogan: “There’s just been news recently about Facebook banning certain individuals . . . because of their speech. They disagree with the speech they’re using or the ideas they’re pushing forward. Unchecked, First Amendment rights going out the window.” This appeared to be a reference to the recent purge of a number of conservative personalities from social media, including Paul Joseph Watson and Laura Loomer.
Joe Rogan noted that many believe that the websites have no obligation uphole free speech as they’re a private company: “The argument is [the First Amendment] doesn’t apply because they’re a private company, right?” Rogan said. Gabbard replied: “Yes, but they re trying to get the best of both worlds. The fact that they are claiming to say, ‘Hey, this is a free space for open communication for everyone’ while at the same time saying ‘You know, what Joe, I don’t like what you’re saying about this, so we’re going to ban you and whoever your friends are from this conversation’ — I think that’s a big problem.”
This isn’t the first time that Gabbard, a military veteran, has spoken out against social media censorship. In a tweet from March, Gabbard stated: “We must be willing to fight for the right of all Americans to express their views, even when we disagree with them.”
We must be willing to fight for the right of all Americans to express their views, even when we disagree with them. We must encourage unfettered discussion of public issues and stand united to stop Facebook and others from attempting to censor/stifle/influence public debate.
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) March 14, 2019