What started as a routine account block has had many wondering whether Coinbase, one of the most popular platforms to buy crypto, might be biased in its dealings.
Last week, Milo Yiannopoulos, a gay, Jewish, conservative pundit, posted a screenshot on far-right social media platform Gab, showing that his account on crypto platform Coinbase was closed within three minutes of being set up. Yiannopoulos is a popular political commentator. The British pundit describes himself as a “cultural libertarian,” although he has become more infamous for his far-right views. Amongst other stints, he has held editor and publishing roles at American news and opinion platform Breitbart News.
According to a report by The Guardian, he had been banned from social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. At the time,, a spokesperson for Facebook had said, “We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology. The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.”
So the question to ask is; is it appropriate for Coinbase to block users based on their political views? The simple answer to that is no. While Yiannopoulos is a pro-Trump commentator whose views are repellent to a lot of people (to say the least), blocking certain users because they have contrary political views might be a bit over the line. When Facebook banned Yiannopoulos a while back, the platform didn’t stop there. Other people who were banned included Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson (the founder and former editor of InfoWars), conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer, and political commentator Faith Goldy.
What do they all have in common? They’re all far-right activists who at some point or the other, have shown support for Trump and his seemingly racist policies. Case and point: upon their Facebook ban, Trump himself took to Twitter to express his displeasure, claiming that “it’s getting worse and worse for conservatives on social media.”
However, there’s also a different side to this. Social media platforms and other tech sites have always been tasked with filtering the type of content that is being passed through their media, especially in a bid to curb the spread of potentially harmful- and most importantly, inaccurate- information. Again, these people have been known to support Trump, and if the President is known for one thing, it’s definitely not for telling the truth.
In addition to that, the argument can also be made that these companies have the right to filter information the way they seem. If banning a few people for spewing dangerous and misleading information is the way to go, then you really can’t fault them.
On May 9, publisher Danny Baker was fired from BBC5 for posting a now-deleted tweet depicting the new royal baby as a chimp. If a broadcasting company can hold its employees to such high standards and now get flack for it, then what’s wrong with Facebook and Coinbase getting rid of someone they deem “unsavory?”