Facebook's oversight board specifically cited Donald Trump's repeated incitement of the rioters at the U.S. Capitol in its decision to keep him off the platform.
Congressional Republicans lashed out against Facebook on Wednesday after the company announced that it would maintain its ban on Donald Trump for inciting violence on the social media platform.
Facebook first banned Trump on Jan. 7, the day after the attack by his supporters on the U.S. Capitol.
"The Board found that the two posts by Mr. Trump on January 6 severely violated Facebook’s Community Standards and Instagram’s Community Guidelines," Facebook's oversight board noted, citing Trump's praise of the rioters.
In those posts, Trump had written, "We love you. You're very special," and called the rioters "great patriots" as they broke through barriers and ran through the halls of the Capitol complex, some saying they were in search of Mike Pence with the intent to do him harm.
Five people died during the attack, and over 450 people have been arrested and face federal charges.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy led the charge against the decision on Wednesday.
"Facebook is more interested in acting like a Democrat Super PAC than a platform for free speech and open debate," he tweeted, adding, "A House Republican majority will rein in big tech power over our speech."
Calling the decision "disgraceful," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked, "For every liberal celebrating Trump's social media ban, if the Big Tech oligarchs can muzzle the former President, what's to stop them from silencing you?"
Trump is still free to offer his views on multiple platforms, including his recently launched blog.
"It's clear that Mark Zuckerberg views himself as the arbiter of speech," complained Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) wrote, "Big tech thinks it can control anything."
"Break them up," said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) wrote, "@facebook thank you for securing the GOP majority come 2022."
She wrote, in a tweet that was deleted a few minutes after she posted it but that was captured by ProPublica first, "This morning, Facebook banned Trump permanently. Facebook will pay the price. Mark my words."
The official account of Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee derided the decision with one word: "Pathetic."
Republicans have protested Trump's deplatforming since it first occurred. In Florida and Texas, legislation has been proposed and passed by Republicans with the goal of punishing tech companies for banning public officials who violate their terms of service.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.