GOP congressman insists Biden somehow controls the internet

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The right-wing app Parler was suspended by Apple, Google, and Amazon for allowing violent threats — and Biden had nothing to do with that.

Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Guy Reschenthaler made baseless claims Thursday that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took down the social media app Parler, which has drawn scrutiny for its use in connection with the violent attack by supporters of Donald Trump on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Appearing on the far-right network Newsmax, Reschenthaler accused the new administration of planning to deplatform right-wing news networks.

"So, just as Biden-Harris wouldn't allow individuals to comment on the post on YouTube, they won't let, they don't want major networks to have a platform," Reschenthaler said. "Right, they took off Parler because it was a place where, it was a platform they couldn't control, where people came to have open, free discussions."

Parler was effectively deplatformed when Apple and Google removed it from their app stores and Amazon shut the service down after the riot at the Capitol. The Wall Street Journal said that the suspension was due to Parler's failure to moderate threatening posts, and that Amazon had cited as an example a post from December that read, "My wishes for a racewar have never been higher. I find myself thinking about killing n—s and jews more and more often." Far-right users of the platform used the app to organize the Capitol riots, the tech giants said, and Parler failed to take action to prevent them from planning further violence.

Reschenthaler claimed that Biden and Harris are "already calling for" Comcast and Verizon to drop Newsmax.

Biden and Harris have never mentioned any such thing. Former Facebook executive Alex Stamos drew ire from far-right outlets when he suggested they present a possible threat that needs to be combated, and CNN reporter Oliver Darcy also came under fire for a column arguing that TV providers should be held accountable for news channels that spread disinformation.

Reschenthaler also said he had been "shadow-banned" from social media by the Biden and Harris team after he was not allowed to retweet a article from the New York Post ("the oldest newspaper in the United States," he noted) that had been flagged for containing spurious claims about the president's son, Hunter Biden.

Back in October, however, Reschenthaler told Newsmax that he was prevented from spreading the story not by Democratic politicians, but by "the social media oligarchs and big tech tyrants," claiming without evidence, "My own social media team thinks that I've been throttled back, meaning my tweets, my Facebook posts are not having the reach they used to have."

But Reschenthaler now says it's Democrats who are to blame for the alleged censorship.

"It's a question of how long can they get away with it, will we stand up and say, look, we want freedom of speech, we want a robust discussion. And the way you combat speech that you don't agree with is not to shut that speech down," he said Thursday. "That's what you see in places like Communist China and in Red Russia."

Reschenthaler said, "Biden-Harris and this new liberal progressive wing in the party ... want cancel culture and they want to silence anybody, not only people who disagree with him, but those that just don't evoke the woke culture and the woke talking points that they want. It's got to that point. We should all be very concerned about it."

Right-wing figures have frequently made false claims of censorship in the weeks following the attempted coup at the Capitol.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), whose book deal with Simon & Schuster was canceled after he voted against certifying the results of voting in the Electoral College and Biden's election and allegedly incited the crowd, claimed the publisher's move was "Orwellian" and a "direct assault on the First Amendment." (His book was then picked up by the conservative publisher Regnery, which is distributed by Simon & Schuster.)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) claimed she was censored when she was suspended from Twitter for violating what a company spokesperson called its "civic integrity policy" after she called Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling a "moron" and "little."

"If a conservative dares to utter a political opinion that is deemed unapproved by the internet police they are now subject to false accusations of 'inciting violence' simply for having an conservative view," Greene said.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.