SWILLY CORN VALLEY, CALIFORNIA — Not long ago, Twitter permanently banned former Trump administration official Steve Bannon when he publicly called for the beheading of Dr. Anthony Fauci. Though Bannon already had a reputation for being willing to say shocking and offensive things whenever he wanted, calling for the execution of a public health official was a bridge too far for Twitter. Bannon also called for the murder of FBI Director Chris Wray.
In the video, Bannon criticized Fauci and Wray for disagreeing with President Donald Trump.
“I’d put the heads on pikes. Right. I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats. You either get with the program or you are gone,” Bannon said during a livestream of his online podcast show “War Room: Pandemic.” (USA Today)
In congressional testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg indicated that while the video of Bannon calling for Fauci and Wray to be murdered violated his company’s Terms of Service, Bannon himself would not be thrown off the platform for inciting violence.
“It called for the murder, the beheading, of Dr. Fauci and the director of the FBI, Christopher Wray. Just think what that does,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said to Zuckerberg during Tuesday’s hearing. “Now if you are going to have somebody threatening to murder somebody, what do you do about that?”
“Senator, in that case, that content violated our policies and we took it down,” Zuckerberg said.
“Oh my goodness, what a deterrent,” Leahy retorted. (USA Today)
If Mr. Zuckerberg thought this issue might just go away after he finished his testimony, he was mistaken. He was asked about the subject of Bannon being allowed to continue to stay on Facebook by investors on a conference call this morning. In his attempt to assuage stockholder fears, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook had instituted a new policy in regards to political violence.
“After some very healthy, rigorous internal debate,” Zuckerberg announced, “Facebook as decided to institute a new policy on political violence, and the change could impact users like Steve Bannon.”
Facebook has now set a “real threshold,” Zuckerberg claimed, for politically motivated violence. If anyone crosses that new line of demarcation, they will be banned from Facebook for life. Mr. Zuckerberg said that as of this time, Bannon has yet to cross that rubicon.
“We’ve decided that if someone personally kills or orders the killing of at least 15% of Facebook’s total user community, that earns them a lifetime ban from our site,” Zuckerberg said. “We feel this new threshold is the fairest way to encourage robust discussion and healthy debate, while also coddling white nationalists’ extremely sensitive feelings.”
Facebook’s new rules on political violence will go into effect late next week.
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Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.