'The View' considers the limits of free speech online following Facebook's ban of 'dangerous' voices: First Amendment is 'so unique to America'

Facebook banned extremist individuals over hate and violence violations.

May 03, 2019, 4:14 PM

"The View" co-hosts questioned if a Facebook's recent ban of individuals they deemed "dangerous" is a violation of the First Amendment.

On Thursday, Facebook made an effort to put a stop to hate, racism, violence, and anti-Semitism on their social media platform by banning extreme leaders like Louis Farrakhan and Alex Jones as well as right wing figures Paul Nehlen, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson and Laura Loomer, and more.

In addition to this, Facebook said that when someone is banned under this policy, praise and supporting of those individuals is prohibited under their policy.

Activists and civil rights groups have put pressure on social media companies to shutdown hate speech on their platforms.

PHOTO: "The View" co-hosts Joy Behar, Abby Huntsman, Ana Navarro, Sunny Hostin, and Meghan McCain discuss Facebook's ban of extremist leaders on Friday, May 3, 2019.
"The View" co-hosts Joy Behar, Abby Huntsman, Ana Navarro, Sunny Hostin, and Meghan McCain discuss Facebook's ban of extremist leaders on Friday, May 3, 2019.
Nicolette Cain/Walt Disney Television

On Friday morning, co-hosts on "The View" weighed in on the company branding certain people as "dangerous individuals," and debated free speech and hate speech online.

"Facebook is a private company so the first amendment doesn't apply to them," co-hosts Sunny Hostin said. "It just does make me feel uncomfortable that you have sort of this private organization being able to take the speech of private individuals. There's just something about that makes the lawyer in me extremely uncomfortable...even though I completely disagree with it."

"I have no issue with it at all," co-host Ana Navarro said. "I want them shutdown. I want them silenced. I want them muted. I think they are horrible for our society.

"The First Amendment argument is very powerful, and it is something that is so unique to America, but it's not unlimited. It's not unrestricted," she continued. "If it's something that endangers people; if it's something that's going to end up hurting people, there are restrictions that can be imposed."

While the action sparked conversations around the country about censorship and freedom of speech, former Facebook executive and an internet policy expert at Harvard Dipayan Ghosh said the ban is simply enforcing the company's existing policies.

Co-host Joy Behar questioned the ban, saying, "Don't you feel it's a slippery slope at all though? I mean, you can say, like Ilhan Omar cannot be on there now."

The biggest concern of co-host Meghan McCain is what else Facebook is doing about the "radicalization of home grown terrorists and the terrorists abroad."

"If you check out pipe bombs in the library, you get flagged," McCain continued. "I don't understand why it should be any different when you're going on Al Qadea websites and terrorist websites. It should be the same."

"I give Americans maybe too much credit, but I give Americans credit," Hostin said. "As Americans we are consumers of news and content. We need to check ourselves. We need to source things. We need to check things. Just because things are available to us doesn't mean that we need to consume it."

ABC's Diane Sawyer joined "The View" on Friday to discuss her new special "Screen Time," airing tonight at 8/7c on ABC. She spent six months finding out how often the country is glued to their phones and how it's affecting families.

Every episode of ABC's award-winning talk show "The View" is now available as a podcast! Listen and subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, Spotify, Stitcher or the ABC News app.

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