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How purging Alex Jones from social media could backfire spectacularly according to free speech advocates

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After Apple removed five podcasts by talk show host Alex Jones and his site Infowars, other platforms swiftly followed. On Monday, Jones’ content was wiped from Facebook and he was banned by YouTube. Jones lost 2.4 million subscribers when YouTube deleted his account. Spotify is also barring Jones from posting.

The social media giants were largely applauded for scrubbing Jones’ offensive content from their platforms. Over the years, Jones has built a media empire promoting everything from 9/11 conspiracy theories to the false claim that the Sandy Hook shooting was staged with crisis actors, for which he’s being sued by parents of the children killed there.

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While Jones’ content can clearly be viewed as offensive and harmful to the public discourse, civil liberties advocates cautioned that restrictions on speech can backfire. The decision to block Jones is not a breach of his first amendment rights—after all, these are private companies—but may nevertheless have negative repercussions.

“While private companies can choose what to take down from their sites, the fact that social media platforms like Facebook have become indispensable platforms for the speech of billions means that they should resist calls to censor offensive speech,” Vera Eidelman, fellow with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, tells Raw Story.

“The recent decision by Facebook and YouTube to take down Alex Jones’ content may have provided a quick solution to a challenging situation, but encouraging these companies to silence individuals in this way will backfire,” she noted.

“Whether out of distaste for hateful speech or inaccurate content, they will get it wrong. We’ve already seen it go wrong when Facebook silenced women of color for repeating word-for-word the vitriol thrown at them, without similarly censoring those who made the racist comments to begin with.”

“We also saw it go wrong when Facebook decided just last week to shut down a real protest event page for engaging in purported ‘inauthentic’ behavior.”

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President helped ‘increase anti-Trump turnout’ in red-state governor’s races — which could spell disaster for the GOP

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President Donald Trump was once the Republican Party's greatest asset in an election, mobilizing thousands of supporters to rush to the polls. Recently, however, it seems he's now driving anti-Trump votes up so much that it may no longer be worth the Trump trouble.

“So you’ve got to give me a big win, please,” Trump told a Louisiana crowd this week before the GOP candidate lost the governor's race in a red state.

“What Trump did in Louisiana was increase voter participation. While he increased the pro-Trump turnout, he also increased the anti-Trump turnout. That’s kind of the lesson here,” polling analyst Ron Faucheux told The Washington Post in an interview.

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Ambassador Sondland was updating Trump officials on progress of ‘push for investigations’ — including Mulvaney

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The Wall Street Journal obtained emails showing that ahead of President Donald Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ambassador Gordon Sondland was updating officials on the strive for investigations.

Chief of staff and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney was one of the main points of contact, and he replied to the email saying he would schedule the call with Zelensky.

“I talked to Zelensky just now. He is prepared to receive Potus’ call. Will assure him that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will ‘turn over every stone,’” Sondland wrote in an email on July 19.

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White House desperately scheduling things for Trump to do so he won’t watch the impeachment hearings

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Given President Donald Trump worked to intimidate witnesses in real-time during the hearings on the impeachment inquiry last week, the White House is desperately searching for something that can keep him busy.

Axios reported Sunday, the presidential daily schedule will be designed to keep the president distracted with their own counter-programming.

"Trump's schedule for the coming week shows him governing," Axios reported. He'll be promoting jobs and talking about things like "art and culture."

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