• Németh Debs

Citing 'censorship' concerns, North Idaho internet provider blocks Facebook, Twitter

Your T1 WIFI said it was blocking the sites for some customers who requested it due to "censorship."

SPOKANE, Wash. — A North Idaho internet provider, Your T1 WIFI, confirmed it is blocking Facebook and Twitter from its WIFI service for some customers due to censorship claims. Your T1 WIFI provides internet services to North Idaho and the Spokane area. The move comes after Twitter and Facebook banned President Trump from their platforms due to incitement of violence and undermining the transition of power to President elect Joe Biden. Your T1 WIFI claims they blocked the social media sites due to censorship, however the social media sites banned the president due to violations of their terms of service. Others have claimed the bans violate the President's First Amendment rights. However, because Twitter and Facebook are private companies, their bans on the president do not violate the First Amendment, which protects speech from being limited by the government. The internet provider said it had received several calls from customers about both websites. "It has come to our attention that Twitter and Facebook are engaged in censorship of our customers and information," an email to customers reads.

The service provider said the change would go into effect on Wednesday, Jan. 13. In the email posted to Twitter by a customer, Krista Yep, the company says they were fielding calls from customers asking that the service not display the sites on the internet, and that they didn't want their children to be able to access them.

"Our company does not believe a website or social networking site has the authority to censor what you see and post and hide information from you, stop you from seeing what your friends and family are posting," the email reads. "This is why with the amount of concerns, we have made this decision to block these two websites from being accessed from our network." The company did not specify what complaints customers had made. Yep said she found the company's email to customers alarming. "I was pretty shocked that they were just coming out and saying that," Yep said. "If it's not illegal, it's highly unethical." this day in history this day in history Ads By Connatix Credit: Krista Yep T1 Your WIFI said it would block Facebook and Twitter on its internet service for customers who asked.

Initially, the company said too many customers had requested the sites be blocked, so it would block them for all customers except for those who called the company and requested access. However, the company backtracked on Monday and said those who didn't request the sites be blocked would still have access.

"Just because you don't like what Twitter and Facebook have done, then you decide to block it for everyone else, so in your opposition to censorship, you're going with censorship," Yep said.

Yep said she plans to cancel her service, regardless of the company's backtracking. "Their original email was pretty alarming and I don't trust them anymore," she said. Yep forwarded additional emails from the company to KREM. In them, the company states that two-thirds of customers asked for Twitter and Facebook to be blocked. In the emails, the company also wrote that their contract and acceptable use policy allows them to block websites if they deem the content "break any rules (sic) or illegal or harmful to our customers and more."

In a phone call with KREM, the owner of the company, Brett Fink, again said the websites would only be blocked for customers who asked.

"We've had customers asked to be blocked by it. That is what the email was about, so no we are not blocking anybody, only the ones that have asked for it," Fink said. Credit: Krista Yep

T1 WIFI blocks Facebook, Twitter on its internet service A representative for the Idaho Attorney General said their office lacks the original jurisdiction to be the enforcement authority in this matter.

KREM has reached out to Washington Governor Jay Inslee's office, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Washington State Attorney General's office for comment.

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