Republicans are hitting back at Facebook and the Big Tech giants in Silicon Valley after Facebook’s Oversight Board announced Wednesday that it will uphold its ban of Former President Donald J. Trump.
Facebook claimed in a statement that Trump post “violated Facebook’s rules prohibiting praise or support of people engaged in violence,” when he called Capitol protestors “great patriots” and and “very special” on Jan. 6.
While stating its policy of reviewing such suspensions, it also admitted that his indefinite suspension, handed down on Jan. 7, was “arbitrary.”
“Within six months of this decision, Facebook must reexamine the arbitrary penalty it imposed on January 7 and decide the appropriate penalty,” the statement said. “This penalty must be based on the gravity of the violation and the prospect of future harm. It must also be consistent with Facebook’s rules for severe violations, which must, in turn, be clear, necessary and proportionate.”
Still, the company decided to uphold the ban.
“The Board has upheld Facebook’s decision on January 7, 2021, to restrict then-President Donald Trump’s access to posting content on his Facebook page and Instagram account,” the company said.
Republican lawmakers immediately condemned Facebook, and more broadly Big Tech, for its decision.
“Facebook’s decision to uphold its ban on President Donald Trump is extremely disappointing. It’s clear that Mark Zuckerberg views himself as the arbiter of free speech.” Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said in a statement.
“Disgraceful. For every liberal celebrating Trump’s social media ban, if the Big Tech oligarchs can muzzle the former President, what’s to stop them from silencing you?” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said on Twitter.
For every liberal celebrating Trump’s social media ban, if the Big Tech oligarchs can muzzle the former President, what’s to stop them from silencing you? https://t.co/Yky4P0B38X
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 5, 2021
“Facebook is more interested in acting like a Democrat Super PAC than a platform for free speech and open debate. If they can ban President Trump, all conservative voices could be next. A House Republican majority will rein in big tech power over our speech,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) said.
Facebook is more interested in acting like a Democrat Super PAC than a platform for free speech and open debate.
If they can ban President Trump, all conservative voices could be next.
A House Republican majority will rein in big tech power over our speech.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) May 5, 2021
“Facebook’s Oversight Board just upheld the platform’s BAN on President Donald J. Trump. Big Tech is the ENEMY of free speech. That’s why I am calling on Congress to REPEAL Section 230 immediately!” Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX-05) said.
Facebook's Oversight Board just upheld the platform's BAN on President Donald J. Trump.
Big Tech is the ENEMY of free speech.
That's why I am calling on Congress to REPEAL Section 230 immediately!
— Lance Gooden (@Lancegooden) May 5, 2021
Other platforms took the opportunity to welcome Trump with open arms, including Clouthub, whose founder Jeff Brain released a statement inviting Trump to use the platform.
“Yet again, Facebook has deprived the American people of our right to hear from President Trump,” Brain said in a statement. “What Big Tech is doing to Donald Trump – and to the millions of Americans who cherish free expression – is simply inexcusable.”
Brain said that countless American patriots who have been booted from Facebook still don’t have access to their accounts, noting that CloutHub has become their new home.
“CloutHub is an ideal place for the 45th President – our unique, all-in-one platform will enable him to mobilize his base and make his voice heard,” he continued. “More importantly, we do not answer to Big Tech, and are the most reliable alternative social media platform in the industry.”
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Minnesota Sun and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]