Social media users show support for Nation of Islam leader and minister, Louis Farrakhan, after Facebook says he is banned for being an “extremist” and “dangerous.”
Last week, Facebook announced its list of those banned, which includes the expulsion from its social media picture platform, Instagram. The list of six people (Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Paul Nehlen, Laura Loomer and Louis Farrakhan), all of whom carry a large following, are said to spread inflammatory and dangerous messages by Facebook.
Initially, they were labeled “extremists,” but when it was pointed out that five of the ousted were white supremacists and Farrakhan was not, Facebook added the word “dangerous.” In a story by Wired, the ban also forbids for other users and fanpages to share “videos, radio clips, articles, and other content from the site unless they are explicitly condemning the material.”
Farrakhan’s legacy is a history fraught with controversy. Currently, he is one of the longest serving radical leaders in the United States, and is often recognized in the Black community as articulating issues that other leaders are reluctant to discuss. Although a number of Black leaders disagree with some of his views, there have been parallel stances on issues. As well, Farrakhan is respected for sustaining the NOI organization after it almost dismantled following the death of Malcolm X.
While he is beloved, he is also despised for his searing critics against certain groups. Farrakhan has never bit his tongue in his angst against Zionist Jews which has landed him permanently on the Anti-Defamation League’s list. As well, he has consistently castigated American status quo for its role in global Imperialism and its oppression of Black people.
As much as his disapproval has come from white groups, it also has been part of his internal struggle. His ascension came at the fall of Malcolm X, one of the most noted leaders in American history. Malcolm X’s widow, Betty, stood firm on the belief that Farrakhan played a role. So much so, one of Malcolm X’s daughters, Qubilah Bahiyah Shabazz was arrested in 1995 for attempting to hire a hit man to kill Farrakhan.
As a young NOI member, Farrakhan served as a mentee to Malcolm X who was assassinated in a Harlem ballroom in 1965 by NOI members. For years, Farrakhan called Malcolm X, who changed his name to El Hajj Malik Shabazz shortly before he was killed, a traitor and insinuated that his killing was justified. In a 60 Minutes interview with correspondent Mike Wallace, Farrakhan told that he apologized to Shabazz’s eldest daughter, Attalah.
“I may have been complicit in words that I spoke leading up to February 21  . . . I acknowledge that and regret that any word that I have said caused the loss of life of a human being.”
White extremists to extremists
Some people expressed outrage when it was discovered that on the list, between Alex Jones and Laura Loomer, is 85-year-old Farrakhan who just delivered a speech at the late rapper Nipsey Hussle’s funeral; a speech trending on social media.
However, Facebook concludes that some of Farrakhan’s speeches promote hate. The ban comes months after Twitter pulled Farrakhan’s verified status from his account, canceling the verification that the profile was authentic.
Although the profiles of the above mentioned are gone, users have been posting in support of Farrakhan.
One of the most noted posts is by Long Beach, Calif. Rapper, Snoop Dogg who defends Farrakhan
View this post on Instagram
Another post came from the daughter of the late Dick Gregory, Ayanna Gregory who said the following:
Facebook and Instagram didn’t ban Minister Louis Farrakhan because they believe he’s preaches hate. They banned him because he inspires Black and Brown people to know and love themselves. He raised up several generations of our people to think, eat and live on a higher vibration. He has influenced some of our biggest influencers to start using their power differently. And for that, he is “dangerous”. Thankfully there is no ban on the planet that can stop the seeds of liberation and self determination that he has planted. #ThankyouMinisterLouisFarrakhan
While there was visible support, other users agreed with the ban, or expressed how they understood Facebook’s actions. Here, Patrick Phillips gives his opinion:
Okay, so let’s talk about Louis Farrakhan being banned by Facebook. Does it upset you? Was it wrong? Your thoughts?
Personally, I don’t think to ban him was wrong of Facebook.
Louis Farrakhan has trafficked in anti-Semitism for years. Not to mention his all-around hateful speech to describe white people.
According to folks at Facebook, Farrakhan is just as “dangerous,” as neo-Nazi sympathizer Milo Yiannopoulos, anti-Muslim bigot Laura Loomer, far-right YouTuber Paul Joseph Watson, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and white supremacist Paul Nehlen, who were also banned. Some of you might not like it, and I get it. But, you can’t have it both ways.
Facebook and Instagram jail
For the past year, Facebook and Instagram have been abundant in epic fails. From blackouts to lawsuits and security breaches, they also have been in the hot seat for their role as a platform that used to manipulate voters in the 2016 elections.
Since, they’ve promised to implement more restrictions on accounts that have violated or are suspected to violate its policies. This prohibition created a nickname amongst users called “Facebook jail.” This term describes when users accounts are frozen or their access is limited while Facebook investigates their activity. There have been a plethora of complaints by activists of color, especially Black activists and even those not affiliated, of being on a bogus restrictions. All the while, a number of Neo-Nazi groups maintain their profiles, according to a report by The Independent.
Regardless of the ban, fanpages and personal pages dedicated to Farrakhan remain.