Case in point: Infowars reporter Millie Weaver took to Twitter on Tuesday to argue that Facebook’s dumping of Jones was a First Amendment violation (oh, and to call everyone who disagreed with her a “libtard”).
Dear Libtards who think Facebook is a privately owned business,— Millie Weaver (@Millie__Weaver) August 7, 2018
There's a thing called fact-checking.
Facebook is a public business that's publicly traded.
Using that argument to justify banning Alex Jones doesn't work pic.twitter.com/6laQBgn0qF
Problem is, Weaver had her facts woefully wrong.
Although Facebook is publicly traded on the stock market, it is privately owned ― an important distinction where the First Amendment is concerned.
As The Economist points out, the First Amendment’s ban on “abridging the freedom of speech” only means the government may not censor or punish expression, not private companies, like, well, the social media platforms that recently banned Jones and Infowars from their sites:
“Apple, Facebook and YouTube can write their terms of service as they wish and police posts as they choose. If they do not want to host content they deem abusive or manipulative, they do not have to.”
Weaver may have attempted a “drop the mic” moment, but her inaccurate tweet only led to her being publicly owned by Twitter users happy to call her out for her inaccurate tweet:
"Public" means shares of stock are available for anyone with the money to buy.— Alexandra Erin (@alexandraerin) August 7, 2018
The people who buy the stock collectively own it.
Those owners are private individuals and businesses.
They collectively decide what Facebook does, through a board.
Not you, not the government.
Good grief, read a book on the Constitution. Facebook is not a government entity. The First Amendment applies to government action. The absolute dumbing down of America. This is like watching Jimmy Kimmel interview people off the street.— AK (@killawattannie) August 7, 2018
Wow. I love when dumb people sneer stupid things and think they are being smart. A public company means it has shares traded on the public markets. It is still a privately-owned - by shareholders. You understand the difference between capitalism and socialism? Apparently not.— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) August 7, 2018
*Looks to the left*— jordan (@JordanUhl) August 7, 2018
[Sees a public library]
*Looks to the right*
[Sees a multi-billion dollar company]
Millie: These are the same to mehttps://t.co/Ixq3MeJMzD
Ironically, one CNN reporter even noticed that Infowars’ own policies are strikingly similar to Facebook’s.
You can't make this up. InfoWars' own terms of service say: "You are a guest here. It is not censorship if you violate the rules and your post is deleted. All civilizations have rules and if you violate them you can expect to be ostracized from the tribe." (h/t @alexkasprak) pic.twitter.com/8hy8NyLN0H— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) August 7, 2018
One person did initially try to be sympathetic to Weaver but decided against it.
I don't want to pile on, but you did call everyone who disagrees with you a 'libtard' while saying things that were not true.— Dale Houston (@wdalehouston) August 7, 2018
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.