Facebook has said it will not allow politicians to set up new accounts on the platform if they have previously been banned, according to a statement obtained from the social media company by Breitbart News.
Breitbart News reached out to Facebook after learning that the platform was blocking a Republican congressional candidate’s attempt to set up an official campaign page.
The candidate, Laura Loomer, is running in the Republican primary for the House of Representatives in Florida’s 21st district. She previously had her personal accounts on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram banned under the company’s “dangerous individual” policy. Loomer says the label is defamatory and is contesting it in court.
President Trump declared Mar-a-Lago, Florida as his permanent residence earlier this year, meaning that the President and First Lady will cast their votes in FL-21.
Her campaign attempted to set up a campaign page on Tuesday, providing Facebook with the required data from the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to verify that she is a declared Republican candidate. Within hours of the account being set up by Loomer’s campaign, it had been blacklisted by Mark Zuckerberg’s company.
In response to a request for comment by Breitbart News, a Facebook spokesman confirmed that Loomer would not be allowed to set up a campaign page.
“People who have been banned from our services aren’t able to set up a new account even if they’re running for office,” said the spokesman.
In a speech last month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised that his company would not censor politicians.
“We think people should be able to hear what politicians have to say,” said Zuckerberg. “I don’t think it’s right for tech companies to censor politicians in a democracy.”
Zuckerberg has also said he won’t ban ads from political candidates on his platform — but you need a Facebook account in order to run an ad.
Karen Giorno, a senior adviser to the campaign, said Facebook’s banning of the campaign page constitutes “blatant election interference.”
“Facebook’s actions are extremely disturbing and require immediate correction,” said Giorno.
By allowing some political candidates and not others to reach voters through its platform, Facebook could run afoul of FEC regulations about “in-kind contributions.”
When it was revealed that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and other Republican politicians were being covertly censored by Twitter in 2018, Gaetz filed a complaint with the FEC alleging the uneven treatment constituted an undeclared contribution to their political opponents.
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.