GOP Leaders Erupt With Phony Outrage After Facebook Bans Trump

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Top Republicans including Reps. Steve Scalise (La.), Jim Banks (Ind.), and Jim Jordan (Ohio) have now expressed public support for anti-trust moves after an oversight board at Facebook decided to uphold former President Donald Trump’s ban from the platform. Trump was banned from Facebook — and Instagram and Twitter — after inciting violence at the Capitol in January, where a mob of his supporters tried to forcibly stop the formal Congressional certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. In other words — Trump’s ban(s) don’t represent some kind of conspiracy to suppress conservatives. The developments connect to the real-world fact that Trump used the platforms to incite violence.

Anti-trust moves, the Cornell Legal Information Institute noted, entail “the regulation of the concentration of economic power, particularly with regard to trusts and monopolies.” Under anti-trust laws, federal authorities have the opportunity to, for instance, review planned mergers of large companies with an eye towards ensuring that the companies don’t essentially completely take over the marketplace. Scalise, among other examples of suddenly expanding GOP support for anti-trust moves against Facebook, said that if “Big Tech believes they have the power to silence a president of the United States, then we need to take a serious look at antitrust laws to limit their monopolistic power.”

To be clear: characterizing Trump’s ban from Facebook as a so-called silencing of the former president is not realistic. He can go on Fox News, or any other station that would have him, any time and get his words broadcast into the homes of people across the country.

Meanwhile, Banks added as follows, discussing the Facebook oversight board’s decision to uphold Trump’s ban:

‘This is a dangerous and reckless decision and sends a clear signal to conservatives using social media—you’re not welcome here. If Facebook is so big it thinks it can silence the leaders you elect, it’s time for conservatives to pursue an antitrust agenda.’

Again — suggesting that Trump’s ban represents an anti-conservative conspiracy is not a realistic or credible argument. Trump incited violence. Nevertheless, Jim Jordan added a call on Twitter to “break them up,” referring to Facebook. Democrats have at times backed antitrust moves against companies like Facebook, but there’s a major difference — Democratic support for the idea isn’t based in complaints about simple moves to stem Trump’s documented incitement of violence.