Here’s what angry Republicans posted on Facebook about continued Trump ban
Republicans aren’t happy with Facebook, but they can’t stay off the social network to express their opinions
After Facebook’s semiautonomous oversight board ruled Wednesday to uphold the social network’s ban on former President Donald Trump for at least six more months, Republican lawmakers and presidential hopefuls took to Facebook to post their disapproval.
“Facebook should move swiftly to reinstate former President Trump, and work to reestablish trust that it will not discriminate against conservatives on its platform,” wrote Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana. “If Big Tech believes they have the power to silence a president of the United States, then we need to take a serious look at antitrust laws to limit their monopolistic power.”
Trump was banned from Facebook and other social networks in January for breaking terms of service about violence for his posts supporting those who attacked the U.S. Capitol. The bans, along with the end of Trump’s time in office, have led to a dramatic drop in his social media reach. Social media interactions about Trump have fallen 91% since January, according to data from NewsWhip published by Axios.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called Wednesday’s Facebook decision “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?” Cruz wrote.
Although Democrats, including Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, did celebrate the decision, opposition to big social media and tech companies is a bipartisan issue.
Back in 2019, for example, Warner teamed up with Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, to introduce a bill that would require social media companies and other data operators to tell users have much their data is worth.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said in February that big technology companies were undermining liberty and distorting the market, and any reforms made to antitrust laws would need to be bipartisan because of the split Senate.
For some Republicans, the Facebook decision was comparable to tactics of authoritarian regimes.
“Silencing former leaders is something they do in Communist China,” Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colorado, wrote. “Big Tech has too much power.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley wrote that the decision showed a “gross double standard.”
“Facebook and Twitter ban a former U.S. President, yet, some of the world’s worst dictators, terrorists, and bad actors still have a platform,” she wrote.
Facebook has become integral for political campaigns because of its reach. Trump spent about $160 million on Facebook and Instagram ads in 2020, according Bully Pulpit Interactive’s 2020 Campaign Tracker, and Trump’s team was hopeful he would be reinstated because of how important the social network has been to his fundraising efforts.
Concerns over alleged social media censorship has become a rallying cry on the right, and some Republicans wrote on Facebook that Trump’s ban meant other conservatives could find themselves banned one day too.
“If Big Tech can ban the President of the United States, they can ban you,” wrote Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee. “Join me in standing up to this bias censorship.”
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed.
“Our freedom of speech is under attack in America,” Pompeo wrote. “This shouldn’t be a partisan issue — but unfortunately, the Left only supports free speech if what you have to say comports with their liberal ideology. If Facebook and Twitter can ban President Trump, they’ll ban you too.”
Other lawmakers kept their statements limited to Twitter, like Lee, who tweeted that “Facebook views itself as a gatekeeper of ideas.”
It is now more clear than ever that Facebook views itself as a gatekeeper of ideas. What this means for the free flow of thought is double-plus-ungood.— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) May 5, 2021
Hawley tweeted that the Facebook decision was “a real life example of the tyranny of #BigTech.”