(USA Features) The co-chairman of the Facebook Oversight Committee on Sunday blamed former President Donald Trump’s actions for the platform’s decision to boot him the day after the Jan. 6 Capitol Building riot.
“On January 6, President Trump issued those statements as a mob was rampaging through the Capitol, as members of Congress cowering in fear, as the rioters were threatening Vice President Pence’s life and at that time he issued he issued these statements which were just egging on — with perfunctory asking for peace but mostly he was egging them on to continue,” claimed Michael McConnell in an interview with “Fox News Sunday.”
“This is a plain violation of Facebook’s rules against praising dangerous individuals and organizations at a time of violence. So Mr. Trump is subject to the same rules as everyone else,” he said.
“Private companies are not bound by the First Amendment. So he has First Amendment rights. He’s a customer. Facebook is not a government, and he is not a citizen of Facebook,” McConnell continued, forgetting that the Constitution’s amendments are absolute, meaning Facebook, “as a private company,” couldn’t reinitiate the slave trade or blanketly violate its users’ privacy by publishing their details.
Wallace said in response, “The argument is that Facebook and Twitter and other platforms have become so big that they can in effect silence people in the digital age, and the argument is, yes, President Trump is able to speak, but it’s not a matter of freedom of speech, it’s a freedom of reach. How do you respond to that?”
“Remember Mr. Trump is the one who issued those inflammatory posts at the very time when rioters were invading Congress and shutting down the constitutionally prescribed process for counting electoral votes,” McConnell said. “He issued those posts. He is responsible for doing that. He bears responsibility for his own situation. He put himself in this bed, and he can sleep in it.”
Later, McConnell appeared to offer some criticism of the platform as well.
“They were not justified in taking [Trump] down indefinitely, they did not provide any reasons for that,” McConnell told Wallace. “That was wrong…their rules are a shambles. They are not transparent. They are unclear. They are internally inconsistent.”