Prominent Republicans slammed a Facebook oversight board’s decision to uphold the tech company’s ban of Donald Trump from its platform.
At the forefront of the outrage was Fox News personality Tomi Lahren, who promised that Trump’s “comeback is going to be bigger than the setback!”
They keep Trump off social media because they know his voice is strong, they know he is the heart and soul of the conservative movement, they know he will not be pushed around and they KNOW the comeback is going to be bigger than the setback! Onward anyway! Screw your platforms!!
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) May 5, 2021
Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, claimed the ban is an indication of “the latest page in the book of big tech coming after conservatives.”
If you’re surprised by Facebook banning President Trump, you haven’t been paying attention. It’s just the latest page in the book of big tech coming after conservatives. And they won’t stop.
Which means it’s past time to hold them accountable. Break them up.
— Mark Meadows (@MarkMeadows) May 5, 2021
Meadows also appeared on Fox News to decry the ban. “It’s a sad day for America,” he claimed.
Mark Meadows' immediate reaction to Trump remaining banned: "It's a sad day for America. It's a sad day for Facebook, 'cuz I can tell you, a number of members of Congress are now looking at, do they break up Facebook? Do they make sure that they don't have a monopoly?" pic.twitter.com/K0SSE0nKlF
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 5, 2021
Representative Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who has openly backed Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent, deleted a tweet claiming that “Facebook will pay the price.”
Lauren Boebert actually deleted this tweet containing a blatant lie (Facebook did not ban Trump permanently) pic.twitter.com/ASMYeJlLAL
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 5, 2021
Similarly, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) pledged that House Republicans, should they attain the majority come 2022, “will rein in big tech power over our speech.”
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
Meanwhile, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said the ban “is extremely disappointing” and suggested that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “views himself as the arbiter of speech.”
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 speech.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) May 5, 2021
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro went on to push falsehoods that the Democratic Party “praised people engaged in the most costly riots in US history,” a statement designed to undermine the efforts of advocacy groups who’ve protested against racism and police brutality.
Facebook's Oversight Board says they were right to suspend Trump because he violated their rule "prohibiting praise or support of people engaged in violence." Last year, nearly the entire media and Democratic Party praised people engaged in the most costly riots in US history.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 5, 2021
A report released in February from the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights concluded that anti-conservative bias claims are part of a disinformation narrative and not supported by any tangible evidence.
“The claim of anti-conservative animus is itself a form of disinformation: a falsehood with no reliable evidence to support it. No trustworthy large-scale studies have determined that conservative content is being removed for ideological reasons or that searches are being manipulated to favor liberal interests,” the report stated.
Many Republicans, spurred by Trump, have asserted that social media companies have been unjustly banning conservatives.
In 2018 for example, Trump claimed Twitter is “SHADOW BANNING prominent Republicans” in response to a news story that alleged accounts owned by Republicans were showing up in a general search of the website but not automatically populating when typing their names in the drop-down bar. Twitter later issued a response, attributing the issue to a platform bug.
“This is not the decision that Trump wanted, as the Board is clearly trying to set up an accountability process for both users and Facebook,” PoliticusUSA’s Jason Easley wrote earlier this morning, shortly after news of the Oversight Board’s ruling became public. “If Trump gets his account back at some points, it will come with strikes and be on thin ice.”
“Facebook has massive transparency and accountability issues,” he added. “This ruling could be the beginning of a clean-up, but it also means that Donald Trump did not win and get his account back yet.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.