Axios reports, Republicans in Congress led by Colorado’s Rep. Ken Buck are leaning into the ongoing debate by Facebook’s external Oversight Board over whether or not to rescind the ban imposed on former President Donald Trump, following the failed January 6th insurrection Trump rallied and incited:
The board is taking comments on whether it should uphold Facebook’s decision to ban former President Trump. With their letter, GOP lawmakers are avoiding commenting on the merits of the ban, instead pivoting to bias claims that are popular with their conservative base.
What they’re saying: Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), the top Republican on Judiciary’s antitrust panel, writes in the letter that Republicans believe Facebook’s “de-platforming standards are not applied in a fair and neutral manner.”
“Instances where conservatives viewpoints have been censored, blocked, diminished harm the free exchange of ideas and irreparably damage conservative Americans’ faith in the fairness of purportedly neutral actors like Facebook,” Buck writes in the letter, also signed by nine other Republican lawmakers including Reps. Darrell Issa, Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz.
If Big Tech can censor President Trump, they can do it to you too. [Pols emphasis]
That’s technically true, since as private commercial media platforms “Big Tech” providers like Facebook, Twitter, and server hosting companies are under no obligation whatsoever to do business or otherwise subsidize anyone they choose for any non-discriminatory reason not to. Free speech, as it’s been said many times but guys like Sen. Josh Hawley still don’t seem to understand, is not an entitlement to access to somebody else’s platform in order to broadcast your speech.
Over the last decade, the viral spread of objectively false information on social networks has has severe negative consequences for American society that Donald Trump is as much of a symptom as a cause. Obviously, if you’re a believer in this objectively false information, attempts to suppress it on social media look like censorship–and even understanding that this kind of regulation is necessary does not relieve us from the debate over how judiciously such power should be applied.
Donald Trump, who relentlessly pushed lies that very nearly derailed the American political system and incited his followers as the nation’s chief executive to physically assault the legislative branch, is not a close case. Through his actions Trump has defined the urgent need for responsible actors to not allow their investments to be used as platforms for mass disinformation campaigns.
Ken Buck knows all of this. He knows that Trump’s lies about the election led to violence. And he knows private companies have the right to make their own decisions about who they associate with. In just about any other circumstance, he would defend that right.
But like Republicans in the U.S. Senate refusing to convict Trump, Buck’s putting his team before his country.