Facebook Blocks Searches for Kenosha Shooter Kyle Rittenhouse

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Facebook has blocked users from searching for the name of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse. Whenever anyone goes to Facebook and types in the name "Kyle Rittenhouse" without quotes they get a message that says "We couldn't find anything for Kyle Rittenhouse." Not only is that statement a flat out lie, it represents a dangerous threat to free speech. Kyle Rittenhouse is one of the most talked about subjects on Facebook right now. There is no way that Facebook can't find anything about Kyle Rittenhouse. Obviously Facebook has chosen to suppress information about the shooter by misleading users into thinking that no information exists. Due to Facebook's near monopoly and enormous market share in the social media industry this suppression act presents a clear and present danger free speech.

Facebook has been getting a lot of heat for doing nothing wrong. They allowed a group called the Kenosha Guard to operate a page and hold an event for the purpose of lawfully recruiting for their militia. That is a lawful activity protected by the First and Second Amendments. The First Amendment clearly states that Congress shall make no law "abridging the freedom of speech," but unfortunately that does not extend to prohibiting Facebook from enacting policies that abridge the freedom of speech on their platform. The Second Amendment clearly states "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The Kenosha Guard has every right to peaceably assemble a militia. Any Facebook policy against such activity constitutes unnecessary censorship. Facebook is in no way responsible for the actions of the Kenosha Guard because Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) makes service providers like Facebook and Cop Blaster immune from legal liability for the conduct of their users. We are under no obligation to moderate content for anything other than unlawful content. Facebook goes way too far by attacking lawful content for the sake of public relations. It has gotten to the point that alternative social networks are needed for people to exercise free speech without being obstructed by Facebook. Facebook should apologize to the Kenosha Guard and re-publish their page.

According to Stat Counter, Facebook's market share is 74.17% (https://gs.statcounter.com/social-media-stats). That domination of the social media market puts Facebook in an important position. It also makes it a public good in our opinion that should be prevented from obstructing free speech. Donald Trump attacked Twitter earlier this year by attacking the CDA for the purpose of stopping them from censoring his Tweets (https://www.wired.com/story/opinion-trumps-executive-order-is-the-most-futile-attack-on-230-yet/). That is the wrong approach to the censorship problem. The right approach is to ask Congress to regulate social media companies that have a dominant amount of market share to make sure that they do not obstruct Constitutionally protected speech. That would effectively preserve Facebook's CDA immunity and put a stop to the censorship of protected speech for political purposes.

The idea that Facebook is somehow culpable in the self defense Kenosha shooting is outrageous. People are just exploiting this for the purpose of suppressing speech that they do not like. This is a dangerous road to go down with the potential to block people from researching any issue that Facebook or any other dominant internet platform does not want them to see. Because this is being done by private companies instead of the government, the potential for an Orwellian future is greater. Companies like Facebook are making themselves an essential component of almost everyone's life and that gives Facebook the power to control them in ways that the government can't. If you don't submit to their control then you are denied access to their platform and the fear of losing access to essential platforms essentially forces people to submit to the government of those platforms. We need new laws to stop social media giants from using their positions to control us.

Fortunately, there are a couple ways to get around Facebook's block on "Kyle Rittenhouse" queries. You can search for "Rittenhouse" or "Rittenhouse Kyle" and find plenty of information about Kyle Rittenhouse. If those searches get blocked you can go to Google and search for "Kyle Rittenhouse" on "site:facebook.com" by typing in the query "site:facebook.com kyle rittenhouse" without quotes.

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