Political commentator Glenn Beck has compared the clampdown on accounts of conservatives by social media platforms after last week’s Capitol Hill riots to the Holocaust and labelled the move as a “digital ghetto” during a guest appearance for Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News.
Mr Beck attempted to draw parallels between anti-Semitic violence that killed six million Jews and persecuted many others, and the lock on influential, conservative social media accounts following the 6 January insurrection, and said: “This is like the Germans with the Jews behind the wall.”
“They would put them in the ghetto. This is the digital ghetto,” he said.
“‘You can talk all you want, Jews, do whatever you want behind the wall. That’s not meaningful,” he continued. “And that’s where we are. That’s where millions of Americans will be.”
He was quick to add that his statement does not intend to compare tech companies such as Twitter and Facebook to the Germans but to warn that “if you don’t stand up for free speech, you will be the one that loses it as well.”
Mr Beck was called on Mr Carlson’s show Tonight to discuss the risks posed by big tech giants on Tuesday after several conservatives complained of a drop in numbers of their followers amid the action taken by social media platforms.
Following last week’s insurrection, big tech companies took down the account of president Donald Trump and are reportedly conducting audits to ascertain users who have been violating their rules of misinformation and hate speech. They’ve taken down thousands of accounts in the process.
However, Mr Beck, in another strange comparison, talked about the Japanese internment during World War II, and said: “We made one of the biggest mistakes of the 20th century by taking our own citizens and listen to this, confiscating their wealth, making sure they couldn’t work, shutting them down, and then putting them in camps.”
He told Mr Carlson, “this is the road we are on again.”
Ramping up his argument about free speech, he said: “The only speech worth defending is the speech you despise. Everything else… Nobody has a problem with, they are not trying to ban it.”
Mr Beck’s flawed comparisons of human rights violations with rules of the social media platforms received no correction from the anchor. However, on this Mr Carlson weighed in and said that this is almost “a daily feature of what liberals say.”
“That’s what we heard, everyday. Protect the weakest. Or the rights of weakest, are a measure of how free you are. I don’t hear a single one who is saying that,” said Mr Carlson.
Freedom of speech guaranteed to US citizens does not extend to private companies and their rules. The move by the social media platforms is seen as a way to contain misinformation and prevent incitement.
This article was amended on January 19 and 20, 2020. A previous version inaccurately cited a figure of 1.1 million Jews killed during the Holocaust, but that was the number of people who died in Auschwitz.