Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), an increasingly prominent critic of big tech, has sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg to explain his decision to ban the Epoch Times, a newspaper critical of the communist Chinese government, from advertising on Facebook.
Facebook banned the Epoch Times from running ads earlier this year, following a series of hitpieces about the newspaper from NBC News. The Epoch Times is a global, multi-language print newspaper founded by a former Chinese citizen and critic of the ruling Communist regime.
Rep. Banks praised the Epoch Times as being “better suited than any Western newspaper to access information in China,” thanks to its wide network of sources in mainland China, its large Chinese-speaking staff, and its international distribution.
“It’s able to report on and distribute that information to interested parties without being censored — at least by the Chinese Communist Party,” continued Banks.
“The rest of the world needs a Chinese dissident paper now more than ever,” wrote Banks. “And that’s the exact sort of newspaper you’ve chosen to censor.”
“Facebook has realized a Chinese Communist Party goal outside of China’s homeland. And for what reason? That is the question that needs answering.”
Calling on Zuckerberg to provide a “concrete reason” for the ad ban, warning that Congress will not “sit by while Facebook hinders the Epoch Times’ efforts to overcome Chinese persecution.”
“The United States cannot afford to have domestic companies aid the Chinese Communist Party’s effort to censor dissenting viewpoints.”
Banks urged Facebook that if a policy violation did indeed take place, for the company to “weigh whether it justifies Facebook’s decision to help the Chinese Communist Party.”
“American companies should support America’s values — not China’s” concluded Banks.
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.