Former President Donald Trump and other top Republicans responded to the decision made by Facebook’s Oversight Board about their decision in January to indefinitely restrict Trump’s access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Facebook’s Oversight Board upheld the platform’s continued “indefinite” restriction of Trump’s accounts but said that the company “must reassess this penalty.”
Facebook’s statement made clear that Trump might be allowed to access his accounts again, potentially in the near future, and appeared to imply that the former president’s conduct in the mean could play a key factor in determining whether they let him back on.
The statement says in part:
Within six months of this decision, Facebook must reexamine the arbitrary penalty it imposed on January 7 and decide the appropriate penalty. 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.
If Facebook decides to restore Mr. Trump’s accounts, the company should apply its rules to that decision, including any changes made in response to the Board’s policy recommendations below. In this scenario, Facebook must address any further violations promptly and in accordance with its established content policies.
After the Oversight Board’s decision, Trump put out a statement attacking Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), whose future in GOP leadership is on the fritz because she is dividing the party with her feud with Trump, and attacking former Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell with inaccurate remarks.
Trump released a second statement directly calling out Facebook, Twitter, and Google, saying that they are “a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our Country.” Trump called for “these corrupt social media companies” to “pay a political price.”
“Several top Republicans weighed in on the news, including former Trump administration officials and U.S. Senators,” former Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo tweeted. “Our freedom of speech is under attack in America. 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.”
Our freedom of speech is under attack in America. 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.
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) May 5, 2021
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) responded by calling on lawmakers to break up the tech companies for being monopolies.
“Facebook is more interested in acting like a Democrat Super PAC than a platform for free speech and open debate,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Facebook is more interested in acting like a Democrat Super PAC than a platform for free speech and open debate.
A House Republican majority will rein in big tech power over our speech.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) May 5, 2021
“Disgraceful,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) wrote 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?”
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 5, 2021
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