Questions raised after Facebook bans GOP Senate candidate for something it previously said was okay

Is Facebook, the social media giant once dubbed the “world’s most dangerous censor,” now trying to stifle an election?  That’s the question being asked by the Daily Wire over a report that Austin Petersen, a longtime Libertarian now running as a Republican against Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri, was slapped by Facebook.  According to the Daily Wire, the social media site handed Petersen a 30-day ban over a post promoting an AR-15 giveaway they previously said did not violate their terms of service.

“Austin’s AR15 giveaway video has been removed from Facebook, despite complying with all Terms of Service and having over 24,000 views and 350 shares,” Petersen’s campaign said on Facebook. “Now the question is, are they banning Austin because his AR15 drawing was triggering, or because their COO made the maximum donation to Claire McCaskill?”

According to the Daily Wire:

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Facebook originally banned Austin Petersen for 30 days back in the fall of 2017 for promoting an AR-15 giveaway on his campaign site (win one here); however, the social media company reversed their ban mid-way through, after finally acknowledging that Petersen had broken no rules.

After wide publication and public outcry, Facebook reversed the ban halfway through the 30 day period stating that this was not a violation of their terms of service,” reports TLR. “It was deemed to not be a violation because Facebook was not actually being used as a medium for the transaction. Petersen was assured by Facebook that it was an error, and his Facebook access was restored.”

Since Facebook explicitly said that Petersen had committed no wrong, the senatorial candidate launched another AR-15 giveaway on Tuesday, only to be met with the same ban again.

Petersen also tweeted:

The Daily Wire reported that several Facebook users said contests with guns as prizes are quite frequent on the site and, until Peterson’s, “those giveaways have never met with bans so long as Facebook is not the medium of exchange.”

Petersen apparently suspects the ban may be connected to contributions made to his opponent by COO Sheryl Sandberg:

“The 30-day ban could very well be Facebook’s shrewd attempt to stifle an election campaign, given Sandberg’s support for Petersen’s opponent,” Paul Bois said at the Daily Wire.

Sandberg, by the way, once helped spearhead an effort to ban the word “bossy” from the English language


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Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad
Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad – Source: Author (used with permission)


Joe Newby

A 10-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Joe ran for a city council position in Riverside, Calif., in 1991 and managed successful campaigns for the Idaho state legislature. Co-author of "Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad," Joe wrote for Examiner.com from 2010 until it closed in 2016 and his work has been published at Newsbusters, Spokane Faith and Values and other sites. He now runs the Conservative Firing Line.

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