Eleven congressmen have signed a letter to Facebook's Oversight Board expressing concern about Facebook's de-platforming of former President Trump.
Congressman Ken Buck (R-Colo.), the lead Republican on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law, is joined by Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Mike Johnson (R-La.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), Chip Roy (R-Texas), Greg Steube (R-Fla.), and Burgess Owens (R-Utah).
The letter states Facebook is not applying its content moderation standards in a fair and neutral manner.
The congressmen say they want to ensure each and every American receives equal treatment and has the right to free speech.
After denouncing political violence of all forms and condemning online speech that incites real-world harm, the letter states, in part:
Instances where conservative viewpoints have been censored, blocked, or diminished harm the free exchange of ideas and irreparably damage conservative Americans’ faith in the fundamental fairness of purportedly neutral actors like Facebook. To effectively enforce content moderation rules in the public domain, Facebook must act in an impartial manner or risk delegitimizing its efforts to prevent violence and hate.Republican letter to Facebook Oversight Board, February 12
The full letter appears below:
Dear Members of the Facebook Oversight Board,
We write in response to a request for public comment on Case 2021-001-FB-FBR, in which then-President Donald J. Trump’s Facebook account was indefinitely suspended. Our comments are in response to the third issue identified: “How Facebook should treat the expression of political candidates, office holders, and former office holders, considering their varying positions of power, the importance of political opposition, and the public’s right to information.”
As a threshold matter, we reiterate our denunciation of political violence of all forms. Online speech that directly incites real-world harm must be condemned and has no place in a civilized society. Unfortunately, we see violent speech emanating from all parts of the political spectrum and being published on various social media platforms, including Facebook. For example, members of the radical leftist group Antifa called for the murder of police officers, the Ayatollah of Iran promised violence and bloodshed against the United States, and conspiracy theorist Lin Wood summoned his followers to execute Vice President Mike Pence.
The debate about how to effectively deal with these and other individuals is necessary and important. However, we remain concerned that the de-platforming standards are not applied in a fair and neutral manner. For example, Facebook’s own investigation into bias against conservatives, led by former Senator Jon Kyl, found numerous issues that resulted in a clear political bias against conservative viewpoints. Additionally, in the final days before the 2020 Presidential election, Facebook prevented a damaging New York Post story regarding Hunter Biden from being shared, claiming it was disinformation. The article was completely factual, however, and Facebook’s overaggressive actions demonstrated that it had a clear preference for the Biden-Harris campaign.
Instances where conservative viewpoints have been censored, blocked, or diminished harm the free exchange of ideas and irreparably damage conservative Americans’ faith in the fundamental fairness of purportedly neutral actors like Facebook. To effectively enforce content moderation rules in the public domain, Facebook must act in an impartial manner or risk delegitimizing its efforts to prevent violence and hate. Several Minority members of the House Committee on the Judiciary issued the attached report last October. We attach it to this letter for your review and consideration.
We appreciate your attention to this pressing issue and remain committed to engaging in productive conversations with the Oversight Board to ensure that your process is applied fairly to all Americans.
Ranking Member of Antitrust Ken Buck (R-Colo.)Ranking Member of Judiciary Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)Ranking Member of IP Darrell Issa (R-Cal.)Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.)Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.)Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.)Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.)Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas)Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.)Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah)