Gloria Alvarez, the young woman from Guatemala I wrote about last week, just got blocked by Facebook. Why? Because she criticizes socialism.
After Alvarez joined me in my American studio to make a video we titled “Socialism Fails Every Time,” she flew to Mexico City to make a speech.
A few days later she wrote me that “some leftist ‘students’ posted on a fanpage called ‘Marxist and Leninist Memes’: ‘BOYCOTT Gloria Alvarez in our University! We won’t let her in!'”
So Alvarez posted (in Spanish) on her own Facebook page: “My dear Mexican socialists intolerants: Thank you! for trying to boycott my event… showing that panic that you have for the debate of ideas. Given yours are so bad, that only with bullets they can be obeyed just like in Venezuela and Nicaragua. You demonstrate once again that you are the intolerant ones against freedom.”
She ended her riff with a wise defense of free speech: “Where words are exchanged, bullets are no longer exchanged.”
Then her account was blocked.
“You recently posted something that violates Facebook policies,” wrote Facebook.
What violated Facebook policies? Was it calling the people who demanded that she not be allowed to speak “socialists intolerants” whose ideas “are so bad that only with bullets they can be obeyed”?
When social media companies block you, the reason is often mysterious.
Facebook did say, “For more information, visit the Help Center… (U)nderstand Facebook’s Community Standards.” Good luck getting an explanation that way.
Alvarez suspects she was blocked because her opponents, boycott advocates, complained about her. Leftists are good at launching campaigns to shut people up.
Fortunately, Alvarez has connections. A few days later she wrote, “a friend of mine that has a cousin working on Facebook Latin America (helped) me to unblock my page this morning.”
Except, most of us don’t have a friend whose cousin works for Facebook.
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other social media platforms promote themselves as sites that enhance communication, not censor it.
I shouldn’t use the word “censor.” When a private company blocks someone, it’s called editing. Companies edit to increase civil communication, improve the quality of discussion, delete threats and lies, etc. Editing helps make their sites more pleasant places to visit.
Censorship and the First Amendment apply to governments. America’s Founders feared government censorship because government can use force, and we have just one government.
But if Facebook blocks me, I still can communicate via Twitter, my YouTube videos, or Instagram.