DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Facebook is banning white nationalist content, as Dayton braces for a KKK-affiliated rally.
As May gets closer, people in Dayton are scrambling to try and stop a KKK-affiliated group from gathering at Courthouse Square. That effort is just beginning, but at the national level, Facebook is making progress and won’t likely see any legal backlash.
“Facebook is totally permitted to do this (sensor hate speech) because they are not a government sector. They can set whatever speech policies they want, as long as they don’t falsely advertise their policies,” said Professor Erica Goldberg, who teaches law at the University of Dayton.
Goldberg says Facebook has gone down this road before with content like breast feeding, but later changed their mind.
However, Goldberg says this content block order against white nationalists might move beyond written content itself.
“It’s not just going to be personal hate, it might impact their ability to organize,” said Goldberg.
The Honorable Sacred Knights of Indiana are set to rally at Courthouse Square this upcoming Memorial Day weekend. The group is also active on social media.
Montgomery County says they had to approve the permit because of the constitution. However, that hasn’t stopped some local groups from starting petitions.
“Doctor King says just because it’s the law doesn’t mean it’s just. We have to challenge the laws and try to make Dayton a safe place,” said Dr. Chad White, a member of group called ‘A Better Dayton Coalition.’
His petition is circulating the city and is not expected to change anything. Dr. White is well aware that the County can’t do much.
Montgomery County said in a statement “We cannot interfere with any groups constitutional right to freedom of speech and assembly in a public space. Our Prosecutor’s Office thoroughly vetted the issue and we were not able to deny the permit.”
Montgomery County also expressed a concern for legal action if they denied the Knights.
Dr. White doesn’t want that either.
“Of course I don’t want my tax dollars going to a known hate group. I am just expecting that the county commissioners exhaust every single legal possibility that is there,” said Dr. White.