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Trump slams Facebook, Twitter and Google as ‘disgrace and embarrassment’ to US

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US President Donald Trump sits at the Resolute Desk during a briefing on Hurricane Michael in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on 10 October 2018 ((AFP via Getty Images))
US President Donald Trump sits at the Resolute Desk during a briefing on Hurricane Michael in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on 10 October 2018 ((AFP via Getty Images))

Donald Trump has released a statement slamming big tech companies following the decision by Facebook’s oversight board to uphold his ban on the social media platform.

The former president called Facebook, Twitter, and Google a “disgrace and embarrassment” to the US, accusing them of taking away the free speech of the president.

He alleged that the three companies did so because “Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth”.

“What Facebook, Twitter, and Google have done is a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our Country,” Mr Trump wrote in a post on his new blog.

“Free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth, but the truth will come out anyway, bigger and stronger than ever before.”

The former president continued: “The People of our Country will not stand for it! These corrupt social media companies must pay a political price, and must never again be allowed to destroy and decimate our Electoral Process.”

The ex-president reacted angrily after Facebook’s Oversight Board upheld the platform’s ban on him, but kicked back the final decision to the company.

The board ruled that the company had been right to ban Mr Trump following his posts expressing support for the rioters at the US Capitol.

But they also found that Facebook should not have made the ban indefinite and told Mark Zuckerberg his company had to decide on a time frame for the suspension.

“In applying a vague, standardless penalty and then referring this case to the Board to resolve, Facebook seeks to avoid its responsibilities,” the board, which. is made up of 20 experts, wrote in its decision.

“The Board declines Facebook’s request and insists that Facebook apply and justify a defined penalty.”

Following the board decision, Facebook said that Mr Trump would remain locked out of his account.

“We will now consider the board’s decision and determine an action that is clear and proportionate,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs and communication, said in a blog post on Wednesday.

“In the meantime, Mr. Trump’s accounts remain suspended.”

Mr Clegg, the former deputy prime minister of the UK, cancelled all of his planned media interviews following the board’s decision, according to The Washington Post.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about Facebook’s decision at her daily press briefing, but said that the Biden administration was “not going to have any comment on the future of the former president’s social media platform.”

But Ms Psaki added that the White House believed that the social media giants have a “responsibility” to protect the public from misinformation.

“The major platforms have a responsibility related to the health and safety of all Americans to stop amplifying untrustworthy content, disinformation and misinformation,” said Ms Psaki, referring to “Covid-19, vaccinations and elections.”

“And we’ve seen that over the past several months, broadly speaking. I’m not placing any blame on any individual or group,” said Ms Psaki, adding that “we’ve seen it from a number of sources.”

And she added that Mr Biden, who has been highly critical of Facebook, “supports better privacy protections and a robust antitrust program.”

“His view is that there’s more that needs to be done to ensure that this type of misinformation, disinformation, damaging, sometimes life-threatening information, is not going out to the American public,” she said.

Mr Trump told the oversight board that his supporters were “law-abiding” despite the violence that unfolded on 6 January as they attempted to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s election win.

And he told the board that nothing he said on 6 January could “reasonably be interpreted as a threat to public safety,” according to portions made public after the decision.

Mr Trump’s remarks were submitted to the board on his behalf by the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative Christian group.

The “political price” Mr Trump refers was laid out by a number of Republicans in their initial reactions to the news of the continuation of the Facebook ban.

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told Fox News that it was “a sad day for Facebook” as members of Congress will now be looking at breaking up the company to ensure it is not a monopoly.

Mr Meadows, himself a former Republican member of Congress, also noted that the “wild, wild west” regulatory environment that Facebook and other companies have enjoyed would likely now change.

Senator Josh Hawley, who recently published a book, The Tyranny of Big Tech, tweeted: “Here’s a real-life example of the tyranny of Big Tech - a fake Facebook court decides Facebook can do whatever Facebook wants, in this case, suspending Donald Trump [without] process or standards. That’s what monopolies do. Break them up.”

In the House, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy vowed that a GOP majority would rein in big tech’s power over free speech.

Representative Lauren Boebert was bullish, tweeting out thanks to Facebook for “securing the GOP majority come 2022”.

Lawmakers on the left were also annoyed by the decision.

“Facebook is a disinformation-for-profit machine that won’t accept responsibility for its role in the safety of our democracy and people,” tweeted Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren.

“Trump should be banned for good, but Facebook will continue to fumble with its power until Congress and antitrust regulators rein in Big Tech.”

Mr Trump is banned from almost all social media platforms and is said to be starting his own. On Tuesday he launched a blog section on his political action committee website.

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