Since this article was written, Tommy Robinson has finally been suspended on Facebook. However the points raised here are still valid. Why was his account left so long? Why was his hate content not censored? Why has Nick Clegg consistently neglected to tackle far right extremism on the Facebook platform?
Why was Robinson allowed to post hate inciting tweets, demonise the Muslim population and put the lives of innocent people at risk?
Imagine a burglar given tools, or a murderer issued with a loaded gun… Alarmingly, convicted criminal and former leader of the EDL, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon AKA “Tommy Robinson”, has been given free rein by Facebook to bully, harass, racially abuse and incite acts of violence and terror by both Facebook and YouTube.
Furthermore, the Luton-born fascist thug physically hunts down anyone posting criticism against him, subjecting them to unlawful stalking and harassment, Yaxley turning up in the middle of the night, heavies in toe, posting live recordings on the internet.
Our right-leaning Brexiteer government has failed to protect the public from this far right hooligan and Facebook are continuing to allow this career criminal to racially abuse, incite and intimidate members of the public, without any action being taken against him. Posting hatred, lies and threats daily, his million-plus fans following up with tangible death threats on every thread, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon poses a serious risk to public safety.
The time has come for Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to immediately rectify the problem, and permanently remove Stephen Yaxley-Lennon’s account. Despite a terrorist murder, a bullied Syrian schoolboy, a Scottish MP besieged in a library and an enormous amount of complaints, the Facebook corporation STILL continues to refuses to act.
Having led the drunken EDL rabbles rampaging through the streets of Britain’s towns and cities abusing everyone in sight and after leaving prison following a spell in prison for mortgage fraud, the despicable anti-Muslim bigot reinvented himself as a fake journalist using Facebook Live and YouTube to racialise crime and threaten and intimidate his opponents.
Wishing he was Al Capone, the poundshop bully continues to livestream his ego aggressively and unlawfully via Facebook, eventually earning himself an additional stay at Her Majesty’s Pleasure for Contempt of Court. Every minute he was detained, Facebook was used to garner hefty donations from radicalised supporters with his wealthy international backers organising rioting in the streets and far right thugs helping to secure his release via public disorder.
Gerald Batten, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) reached out to “Tommy Robinson” with an offer of membership and support and the failing original pro-Brexit party mutated into a gang of drunken, coked-up brawlers who cheerlead Tommy’s every dangerous move.
Over the past few months, Yaxley’s behaviour has become increasingly irrational (which the Sun newspaper blames on a cocaine habit.) Widening his reach from just targeting Muslims to lincluding hate toward left wingers and trade unionists, Robinson teamed up with fanatical pro-Brexit street thugs James Goddard and armed kidnapper Daniel “Tommo” Thomas.
Baying for blood, Yaxley recently organised what he called a “Brexit betrayal” march with participants threatening to incite a deadly civil war if the UK doesn’t leave the EU without a trade deal.
Hijacking the discontent of the protest French Yellow vests movement (Gilets Jaunes) with a far right British anti-immigrant version – Yellowvests UK (empowered by the lack of action by the police and courts against Tommy since his release from prison on appeal) Goddard and Tommo have copied his doorstepping camera harassment, live-streaming abuse against British Members Of Parliament. The failure of both Facebook and YouTube to clamp down Yaxley-Lennon’s camera abuse, has spawned ultra-aggressive copycats working in tandem with the fascist thug from Luton.
In last Saturday’s so-called “Panodrama” protest outside the BBC in Salford, Yaxley spoke on microphone, expressing amazement he hadn’t been banned from Facebook. Fully aware he contravenes Terms of Service yet is never sanctioned, he openly brags about being above the law. Furthermore, to his adoring fans, he expressed a wish to go back on trial in London for obstructing justice so he could instigate a riot outside the courtroom.
Mark Zuckerberg’s complete and utter refusal to act against such an arrogant serial crook makes a mockery of British laws and posing grave danger as the Article 50 deadline approaches.
Britain’s leading anti-terror cop linked Yaxley-Lennon’s Facebook account with Darren Osborne’s terrorist murder at Finsbury Park Mosque. Under normal circumstances, such a connection would have resulted in immediate cessation of all social media use, if not his arrest and jailing. But alongside the kid-gloves of the government and the CPS, Facebook and YouTube continue to allow Yaxley unfettered use of his hatemongering accounts which remain fully active and uncensored.
Buoyed-up with bullish bravado and the belief he is beyond the realms of both the law and social media regulation, Yaxley-Lennon’s self-absorbed aggression continues to spiral out of control. Whilst he himself refrains from posting graphic instructions to maim, injure and kill, his supporters have no such restraint. Yaxley blows the whistle, and his pitbull terrier followers do the biting with potential deadly consequences.
Virtually every thread on Tommy Robinson’s incendiary Facebook include direct calls for murder and genocide, without a blinking of an eye from Mark Zuckerberg and his British vice president Nick Clegg. Media commentators were surprised when the former deputy prime minister to David Cameron was appointed to such a senior and powerful position within Facebook without previous and relevant experience, many believing Clegg was put into the role to give a misleading impression that Facebook had discovered its moral compass and wished to reconnect sympathetically with British users used and abused by the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal.
Apart from scattered official appearances, since becoming Facebook vice-president, Nick Clegg has maintained his distance from the public who he is meant to represent. A shameless opportunist, he leapt head first into a coalition bed of sell-out and betrayal with David Cameron at the expense of Lib-Dem voting students, only to lose his seat at the following election.
Clegg’s public persona remains at rock-bottom, even after the passing of time. All the more reason for Mr Clegg to take an immediate firm and lasting stand against hate, and permanently suspend Stephen Yaxley-Lennon for his repeated abuse of his platform. Whilst many voters will never forgive Clegg for the Tory-LibDem coalition – antifascists, anti-bullying campaigners and Rape Crisis volunteers would highly commend his actions if he rose up and took lasting action against this dangerous far right intimidator.
In his senior boardroom role, Nick Clegg has the authority to implement his corporation’s Terms Of Service, and morally and ethically, should be doing all he can to protect the British public from Facebook’s misuse. As reported by the Daily Mirror, he acquired a seven million pound mansion complete with heated pool and a massive garden in Atherton – California’s most exclusive postcode.
With a key position of power comes corporate responsibility. Facebook’s commitment to its worldwide users to clean up its act and make a safer space for everybody to interact, including all genders and ethnic minorities, has yet to be publicly reinforced by Mr Clegg.
Nick Clegg’s champagne lifestyle is far removed from his humble urban Sheffield beginnings. Clegg was both an MP and deputy prime minister when “Tommy” and his violent band of marauding racist hooligans deluged through the streets of his home city, so he should be fully aware of the dangers inherent in giving a free reign to fascist thuggery.
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon currently has over a million Facebook supporters, two-thirds of which are estimated to be British citizens. Having being linked to the radicalisation of Darren Osborne who committed the deadly terrorist attack at Finsbury Park Mosque, Tommy has intensified his blatant misuse of the Facebook platform, recently using Facebook live to peddle hazardous lies encouraging further bullying and racial assaults of Huddersfield-based Syrian schoolboy Jamal, and yet, shockingly, still no action from Zuckerberg and Clegg.
Recent investigations by national newspapers including the Independent and the Daily Mirror uncovered a chilling complicity between Facebook and “Tommy Robinson” resulting in his account allegedly protected from contravening company rules no matter what content he posts, with all complaints automatically ignored.
If true, Facebook have given the GREEN LIGHT to Yaxley-Lennon’s abuse, allowing him to act criminally on social media with absolute impunity. If Stephen Yaxley-Lennon is being permitted to use and abuse the Facebook platform without repercussions, the immediate question must be asked – WHY??? The most obvious explanation is Facebook’s alleged profile protection of Mr Lennon’s account is directly linked to the commercial advertising revenue generated from over a million likes. However, bearing in mind the toxic backdrop of American politics, one cannot discount the possibility of rightwing political pressure groups and ultra-conservative lobbies exerting an influence towards maintaining horrendous bigots on the platform.
Whilst mainstream conservatism in the United Kingdom refuses to endorse Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, only fringe far right nationalists UKIP under the leadership of Gerald Batten throwing their support behind the convicted fraudster and racist thug, across the pond, things are much different, Yaxley supported by Republican Party senators and even the President’s son, Donald Trump Junior. He has spoken via live link to party conferences, and is regarded by many Stateside as a bona fide “politician”.
Rightwing American think-tanks like to paint both the traditional and social media as a “liberal stronghold” (often with anti-Semitic overtones), despite Rupert Murdoch’s rightwing Fox News being the most influential media voice throughout the States. In truth, the retrogressive voices of the intolerant shout the loudest, to the widest audiences. Ultra-conservative politics reinvigorated since Donald Trump’s election, the moment a high profile bigot happens to be suspended from social media, all hell breaks loose.
The “liberal conspiracy” becomes the “New World Order”, and the alt-right grabs the spotlight. Following the permanent removal from Twitter of shamed alt-right figurehead Milo Yiannopolous (formerly of Breitbart) for perceived paedophile sympathies, many on the American right spoke out against a perceived “liberal bias”, accusing social media of “silencing conservative opinions”. Whenever rightwing discourse is censored, no matter now extreme, its defenders sure as hell make an absolute song and dance. Libertarian rightwing anti-censorship campaigners have called for US government intervention to force social media companies and website / forum hosters not to delete or ban abusive or offensive material, despite normally opposing government intervention.
Alex Jones vanishing from Twitter enraged a lot of people on the right including Donald Trump himself, who tweeted angrily in response at the “liberal establishment”. Compared with Twitter, Facebook have become more intransigent over the last few years, locking down extreme content whilst continuing to peddle the lie they offer a family-friendly interactive experience. Like Tommy, despite unleashing horrendous abuse against Leslie Jones and his shocking comments about paedophilia, Milo remains unfettered on Facebook with over two million supporters. Whilst most US-based website hosters are free to decide which websites they can or cannot host, as illustrated by the Daily Stormer hosting news story, any use of legislature to clamp down on hate speech has been strongly resisted by the US Supreme Court who in June 2017 ruled that in the Matal vs Tam case on prohibiting the registration of offensive trademarks, the disparagement clause of the Langham Act, violated the First Amendment’s free speech clause. This verdict affirms the 1929 ruling of United States versus Schwimmer, announcing “speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful” but “we protect the freedom to express the thought that we hate”.
If Facebook voluntarily affirmed the advice of the American High Court to permanently protect the accounts of both Stephen Yaxley-Lennon and Milo Yiannopolous from deletion in regards to supporting the First Amendment, they must surely realise whilst Milo is a British citizen with American residence, Yaxley-Lennon is a serial criminal banned for life from entering the United States, having tried to enter illegally with a false passport in the name of Paul Harris. As a UK citizen, everything he posts online falls under British not American jurisdiction. Offering First Amendment protection to worldwide non-American Facebook users is morally repugnant, protecting illegal content for users whose own countries’ legal frameworks render their posts actionable hate speech. If “freedom of speech” or advertising revenue are not the main reasons for locking-down Stephen Yaxley-Lennon’s Facebook account, the only other rationale behind his special treatment must be political lobbying and / or direct intervention.
Everybody has heard of the Cambridge Analytica scandal which irreparably tarnished Facebook’s reputation for honesty. Following the unexpected election of Donald Trump aided and abetted by Cambridge Analytica, the ongoing investigations of Robert Mueller of the FBI have put rightwing lobbying and Russian interference firmly into the spotlight, and how American voters (and very possibly Brexit voters) were micro-targeted with rightwing political propaganda via social media to influence voting habits based on illegally and unethically sourced data mined into algorithms without permission from millions of users in both the States and the UK. Cambridge Analytica was founded by far right billionaire Steve Bannon, the former advisor to Donald Trump who gave an address to Marine LePen telling her “it’s okay to be called a racist”.
From neo-fascist antisemites to Islamophobes to British government ministers, Bannon has befriended them all. Despite leaving the White House, he remains a close friend of Trump. A supporter of “Tommy Robinson”, Bannon is renowned for his successful networking activities with Capitol Hill, Silicon Valley, and international far right circles. Having successfully connected with Facebook, his ability to influence cannot be dismissed, especially if political lobbying was the key factor in Tommy’s profile protection, although there are other possible lobbyists and think-tanks which could have influenced Facebook to take such a controversial decision. Daniel Pipes’s Middle East Forum (MEF) spent £47,000 on Robinson’s legal expenses and rallies last summer, MEF itself receiving $792,000 funding from Nina Rosenwald’s foundation, Nina the founder and president of the Gatestone Institute dubbed the Sugar Mama of Anti-Muslim hate. Gatestone themselves are supportive of the former EDL leader, and are partially funded by the Mercer Foundation, billionaire Robert Mercer, Donald Trump’s top donor.
Other influential Tommy Robinson supporters include the ultra-right California-based David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC) who have also written articles in support of the serial fraudster and thug, the DHFC funded by major Republican party donors. Republican congressman Paul Gosar is openly friends with Robinson, whilst Donald Trump Jnr was one of Robinson’s regular re-tweeters whilst “Tommy” was on Twitter. It is not inconceivable that high profile far right strategists with access to the White House sought special political assistance to protect Robinson’s incendiary Facebook account from suspension.
Any actions taken by Facebook to secure VIP anti-deletion status to Yaxley Lennon’s account act contrary to the United Kingdom’s laws and regulations. Just because the Home Secretary, the CPS and the UK police forces have failed to action prosecutions against him for hatemongering, stalking and inciting acts of violence and terror does not mean his account is lawful and his caustic posts and videos, anything but legal.
Private litigations are currently ongoing against the pint-sized right wing extremist. Crucially, legal test cases will also be undertaken against Facebook for their apparent wilful protection of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon. A laissez-faire across-the-board policy not to censure ANY objectional content is one thing, however selective protection rendering specific accounts free from adherence to website Terms Of Service, is an inexcusable and immoral practice which actively encourages blatant abuse and illegality.
If Nick Clegg is anything more than Mark Zuckerberg’s PR stooge, he should grow a pair and take immediate and lasting action, permanently removing the toxic thug from his platform before his words inspire another murder.
Failure to act, will mean blood on his hands.