Prominent Republicans and right-wing media organizations on Wednesday cited a decision to affirm Facebook’s suspension of former President Donald Trump in their long-running campaign to portray large technology companies as biased against conservatives.
The decision was made by the Oversight Board, a court-like panel funded by Facebook that is charged with providing an independent review of certain content moderation decisions the platform makes.
The Oversight Board ruled Wednesday that Facebook was correct in suspending Trump after the January 6 insurrection, but took issue with the fact he was indefinitely suspended and said Facebook must decide how to sanction the former President in a way that is in accordance with its own rules.
The decision was fuel for Trump and his supporters who have spent years suggesting, despite a lack of actual evidence, that technology companies such as Facebook make enforcement decisions influenced by an anti-conservative bias.
Facebook, and other technology companies, have repeatedly said that they enforce their rules impartially.
But the narrative has gained a firm foothold in conservative circles and right-wing media organizations like Fox News have egged it on.
“CONSERVATIVES CENSORED: FACEBOOK KEEPS TRUMP BAN,” blared a banner on Fox shortly after decision was announced Wednesday, with host Harris Faulkner declaring that the “silencing of conservatives online continues.”
The top headline on the right-wing website Breitbart said, “FACEBOOK UPHOLDS TRUMP BLACKLIST.”
“MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE ENTRENCH ‘SUPREME COURT’ POWER OVER ELECTED OFFICIALS,” Breitbart’s sub-headline added.
The far-right Gateway Pundit blog claimed Facebook had been “censoring” Trump supporters for years, and decried the decision as a “media stunt.”
Republican officials offered similar messaging.
Senator Tom Cotton called the Oversight Board “Orwellian” and questioned whether members should be making decisions on “issues of free speech.”
Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff to Trump, claimed the decision was only “the latest page in the book of big tech coming after conservatives.”
“And they won’t stop,” Meadows added. “Which means it’s past time to hold them accountable. Break them up.”
Rep. Jim Jordan, a frequent Fox guest, echoed Meadows.
“Break them up,” he said of the social media companies.