Democrats Urge Meta to Extend 2-Year Ban on Trump

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A group of Democrat lawmakers is urging Meta to extend its ban on former President Donald Trump’s Facebook account beyond Jan. 7, when the media giant is set to make a decision on whether to reinstate him after issuing a two-year suspension in 2021.

“That suspension is set to expire in just 24 days–despite the fact that he’s more unhinged and dangerous than ever,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) wrote on Twitter on Dec. 14, referring to the former president.

“[Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)] and I are calling on Meta to keep Trump offline,” Schiff added. “For good.”

Schiff and Whitehouse—joined by Reps. André Carson (D-Ind.) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.)—have made their case against Trump in a letter sent to Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, according to a Wednesday press release from Schiff’s office.

Epoch Times Photo
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) delivers remarks during a hearing by the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 Capitol breach in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, on Oct. 13, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In their letter, the Democrats alleged that Trump would likely incite violence and undermine democracy if allowed back on Facebook.

“His rhetoric can only serve as a motivation to incite violence, and it is Meta’s responsibility to keep such rhetoric off its platforms,” the letter says.

Facebook initially suspended Trump indefinitely after the Jan. 6 Capitol breach but later changed it to a two-year ban. In a post explaining the suspension in June 2021, Clegg wrote that Trump would be reinstated if experts decided that the “risk to public safety has receded.”

The four Democrats’ push to keep Trump off Facebook comes as Twitter’s ban on Trump is coming under close scrutiny, following the release of the so-called “Twitter files.” In a tweet on Dec. 12, Twitter’s new chief Elon Musk suggested that Trump “didn’t violate the rules” and that the decision to ban the former president was made at the urge of “activist employees.”

A day later, former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey shared his view on the internal Twitter documents, saying that banning Trump was the “wrong thing for the internet and society.”

Twitter, which banned Trump following the Capitol breach, reactivated the former president’s account in November after more than 15 million account users voted in an online poll. The final poll results showed 51.8 percent in favor of reinstating Trump.

In September, Clegg said that he will be the one who decides whether to lift the ban against Trump. He added that he would consult CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s board of directors, and outside experts before making the final call.

“It’s not a capricious decision,” Clegg said during an event held by the Semafor news organization. “We will look at the signals related to real-world harm to make a decision whether at the two-year point—which is early January next year —whether Trump gets reinstated to the platform.”

Letter 

The four lawmakers cited Trump’s concerns over midterm voting in Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania as evidence that he should be kept off Facebook.

“Trump has continued to post harmful election content on Truth Social that would likely violate Facebook’s policies, and we have every reason to believe he would bring similar conspiratorial rhetoric back to Facebook, if given the chance,” the letter says.

One Truth Social post cited by the Democrats was when Trump last month wrote that there was a voter integrity concern in Maricopa County, Arizona.

The Democrats also accused Trump of continuing to spread “the Big Lie” about the 2020 presidential election.

“Two years later, we can see unequivocally that Trump is still spreading the Big Lie and thus undermining our democracy,” according to the letter.

There remain many lingering questions about the 2020 elections. In June, Trump issued a statement outlining his arguments disputing the election results. Vote-counting stoppage on election night and ballot trafficking scheme were among those present as evidence.

For example, Trump pointed to evidence presented in the documentary “2000 Mules,” which argues that illegal ballot trafficking happened in several states, thus changing the results of the 2020 elections.

Trump
Former President Donald Trump speaks during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Fla., on Nov. 15, 2022. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

There have been other pieces of evidence suggesting that fraud took place in 2020. In March, the public interest organization True the Vote found that at least 137,500 absentee ballots were cast through unlawful vote trafficking in several cities in Wisconsin. Last month, Verity Vote, an election integrity watchdog, discovered that 19,000 late, invalid ballots were counted in Arizona.

“For Meta to credibly maintain a legitimate election integrity policy, it is essential that your company maintain its platform ban on former president Trump,” the lawmakers wrote.

Ahead of the public release of the letter, Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-Tenn.) apparently obtained a copy of the letter—which she said that Schiff was circulating at the time—and spoke out against it, according to her Dec. 9 tweet.

“The left is desperate for power and is willing to deploy CCP-style censorship tactics to silence any opposition,” Harshbarger wrote, referring to the Chinese Communist Party. “This is the real threat to democracy.”

Frank Fang

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Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers US, China, and Taiwan news. He holds a master’s degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.





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