Trump lashes out at social media 'censorship'

In an apparent response to Facebook's banning of far-right agitators, US President Donald Trump has vowed online to closely monitor the situation and labelled it a form of censorship.

Trump's tweets on the subject came a day after Facebook permanently banned Infowars and its founder Alex Jones, Infowars editor Paul Joseph Watson, white nationalist Paul Nehlen and far-right provocateurs Milo Yiannopoulos and Laura Loomer, as well as Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

"I am continuing to monitor the censorship of American citizens on social media platforms," Trump tweeted, without naming Facebook by name.

"This is the United States of America - and we have what's known as freedom of speech! We are monitoring and watching, closely!!"

Facebook told media the ban was consistent with its policies against hate speech, irrespective of ideology.

Infowars and Jones have been banned from multiple platforms over their spreading of conspiracy theories, including false claims the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 was staged.

Parents of the victims of the shooting have since filed lawsuits against Infowars, alleging the site's repeated lies led to death threats against them.

In a follow-up tweet, Trump singled out Watson as well as actor James Woods as supposed victims of social media censorship.

Watson wrote on Twitter on Friday (NZ time) he hoped "the Trump administration will now take the issue of social media censorship seriously".

"They're now just banning people for wrongthink. There's no pretence of enforcing rules."

Yiannopoulos and Jones had already been banned from Twitter.

Reuters