Facebook on Friday removed a video clip of President Donald Trump from its platform, claiming the video “goes against our Community Standards on hate speech.”
But it should be clear that the clip does not constitute “hate speech.”
The video, titled “President Trump Roasts Tlaib and Democrats At TPUSA Event,” was taken from Trump’s speech to hundreds of teenage conservative activists at a Turning Point USA event on Wednesday.
It was then posted to the “Western Journal Media Watch” Facebook page.
But, as seen below, Facebook removed the video, claiming it constitutes hate speech:
The Western Journal reached out to Facebook for a more detailed explanation regarding why it removed the video and received the following response: “The video was removed in error. We’ve restored it…”
It’s possible that Facebook took issue with the part in the clip during which Trump goes after Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib.
“There is no way she stands for the values of the people of Michigan,” the president said, before referencing a viral video showing an enraged Tlaib being escorted by security out of a 2016 Trump campaign event.
“But I watched her this morning; she’s vicious,” Trump said. “She’s like a crazed lunatic. She’s screaming. This is before she got into Congress. Who elected her? She’s screaming like a total lunatic at one of our rallies. It’s like I’m giving a little rally, and she starts screaming.”
You can watch Trump’s full comments below:
Facebook’s guidelines on hate speech, meanwhile, note that there are three “tiers” of attack “on people based on what we call protected characteristics — race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disease or disability.”
Facebook may claim that Trump’s words fall into the second tier, which includes statements attacking a person’s state of mind. Words such as “retarded,” “cretin,” “low IQ,” “stupid” and “idiot” — none of which were used by the president — would fall under this tier.
But here’s why it’s problematic to classify the president’s words as “hate speech.”
For one thing, Trump was clearly not trying to imply that Tlaib, who he said was acting “like a crazed lunatic,” has a mental deficiency. He simply said she was behaving like a crazed person, which she was. (If you haven’t already, watch the video of Tlaib from 2016.)
There is also no mention in the Trump video of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, disabilities or diseases.
The president never said Tlaib is mentally disabled. He was not trying to imply that she was. He was criticizing her for her actions in the 2016 video, which should be fair game.
In fact, there was nothing of significance in this video other than what the president said.
And if the words of the president of the United States spoken at a public event are not newsworthy — Facebook says it sometimes allows content “that might otherwise violate our standards if we feel that it is newsworthy” — it’s hard to say what is.
In short, Facebook appears to have used dubious reasoning to censor the president of the United States. I don’t know about you, but that makes zero sense to me.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to include Facebook’s comments on why the video was deleted.
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