GOP Congressman Ken Buck expressed his displeasure with the decision of Facebook’s Supervisory Board on Wednesday to uphold the ban on the social media platform against former President Donald Trump.
In a statement released shortly after the board announcement, Buck slammed Facebook while highlighting what he calls hypocrisy in allowing a fan page for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He argued that the Assad page “has repeatedly promoted lies about the pro-democracy movement in Syria and downplays human rights violations committed against the Syrian people during the civil war.”
The Oversight Board authorized the continuation of the ban on Trump’s account, which the social enterprise implemented following the deadly January 6 riot on the United States Capitol. However, the panel asked Facebook to establish how long the suspension would last and called an indefinite ban “vague and uncertain.” The decision also gave Facebook six months to comply and thus delayed Trump’s reinstatement during that time.
Buck and other Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee previously sent a letter to Facebook’s supervisory board in February. In the letter, which included the signatures of Congressmen Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz, the committee members stated: “The instances where Conservative views have been censored, blocked, have diminished the free exchange of ideas and have irreparably undermined the faith of US conservatives in the fairness of alleged neutral players like Facebook. “
Following the announcement of the Supervisory Board’s decision on Wednesday morning, Buck shared a statement on Twitter and on his official US House of Representatives page. He was reading :
I am disappointed, but not surprised, by the Facebook Oversight Board’s decision on President Donald Trump’s indefinite suspension. Facebook made an arbitrary decision based on its political preferences and the Supervisory Board, organized and funded by Facebook, reaffirmed its decision. The American people should fear any business that sees itself as so powerful that it establishes a one-sided quasi-judicial body to rule on our First Amendment rights.
The Supervisory Board determined that President Trump’s speech posed a continuing risk of violence, stressing that “heads of state and other senior government officials may have greater power to harm than other people.” It should be noted that Facebook allows a Bashar al-Assad fan page with over 250,000 likes to continue posting. The admin of the page is located in Syria, has been active since 2011 and has repeatedly promoted lies about the pro-democracy movement in Syria and downplays human rights violations committed against the Syrian people during the civil war.
Facebook’s monopoly status has led its executives to believe that it can silence and censor American speech without any repercussions. Now more than ever, we need aggressive antitrust reform to break Facebook’s monopoly.
News week has contacted Buck for further comment, but has not had a response at press time.