A collection of gun-rights organizations that posted to their website the files at the center of the ongoing legal controversy over 3D-printed guns now claims that Amazon and Facebook have taken steps to censor that content.
The website, CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, has been blocked by Facebook and removed from Amazon’s web-hosting servers, Brandon Combs, president of the Firearms Policy Coalition, told the Washington Free Beacon.
The censored files are at issue in the high-profile case of Cody Wilson, a gun-rights advocate who was sued by nine state attorneys general for publicly posting the 3D gun–printing schematics. Wilson took down his website earlier this month at the court’s direction but versions of the 3D gun–printing instructions exist elsewhere online.
In response to the perceived violation of Wilson’s First Amendment rights, the Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation, Calguns Foundation, and California Association of Federal Firearms Licenses jointly posted the files to their own website, which remains active since the group anticipated Amazon’s censorship and preemptively migrated to a different server.
“It was humans involved with Amazon just like in Facebook,” Combs said. “This is not an algorithm-based issue, they were making human policy decisions. And the issue at Amazon is not done yet. It’s been escalated, and frankly I think many enterprise-clients view this as troubling because [it’s one thing] if you have legal speech that is simply protected and somebody files a complaint, but if it’s just as simple as saying ‘unwanted content’ to take down an instance at AWS [Amazon Web Services], then nobody’s safe.”
Combs said Facebook has engaged in an even more pervasive censorship campaign, ensuring that the link to the website cannot be shared on any of its platforms.
“Facebook did not just block CodeIsFreeSpeech.com prospectively. Facebook forced a company-wide (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram) takedown of content about and inclusive of CodeIsFreeSpeech.com,” Combs said. “Facebook banned the URL throughout their products. I even tried to setup Facebook for Work. But even that platform banned discussion of CodeIsFreeSpeech.com. What we are experiencing is a complete ban on CodeIsFreeSpeech.com—not a ‘shadow ban,’ not a reduced newsfeed presence, but a complete ban.”