Russia-Ukraine crisis: GOPers slam Big Tech for banning conservatives but allowing Kremlin to push disinfo

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Several GOP lawmakers attending CPAC in Orlando are slamming Big Tech companies for their crackdown of conservatives while allowing Russia to launch a viral campaign in the midst of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., called the double standard “pretty remarkable” since these tech giants “literally allowing individuals doing an actual brutal coup and murdering their neighbors to be on social media.”

“President Trump is blocked, the leadership of Hamas is not. President Trump is blocked, the leadership of Iran is actually not blocked. You’ve got President Trump is blocked, you’ve got leaders in Nicaragua that have led through an actual coup and a transition in their government, and they’re not blocked,” Lankford told Fox News Digital. “Over and over and over again, I can walk you through the world leaders that are brutal dictators that have led an actual coup in their country, and they’re still on social media. President Trump still continues to be able to be blocked on this.” 

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“This is a preference thing,” Lankford continued. “This goes back to Apple’s guide. Apple, in their guide, their user guide says literally, they don’t allow things on that they consider creepy. It’s a totally subjective piece. Facebook has on there that they don’t allow illegal activity unless it’s illegally crossing the border, then they do allow that. So there’s all this double standard that actually happens. It’s really a subjective issue of the far left folks that are in Silicon Valley. If they like it, they allow it. If they don’t like it, they block it. And they seem to like Hamas, they seem to like these other dictators worldwide, they just don’t like President Trump. So they block him.” 

Twitter office building in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Twitter office building in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., called for regulating Big Tech, touting his own legislation he says “makes complete sense” but not a “single Democrat” has supported it. 

“What we will do is we regulate Big Tech, we treat them like a common carrier. That would require them to give nondiscriminatory access,” Hagerty told Fox News Digital. “And if they want to come in and censor, they’re going to have to inexplicitly state the criteria. Today, in Section 230, they’re allowed to come in and have a very broad criteria because they use the language that says or otherwise… ‘offensive.’ And they are interpreting that very broadly to basically say anything that’s conservative is offensive.”

“It’s amazing to me that this is the path that Big Tech seems to choose where authoritarians are welcome to use Big Tech, where the Ayatollah can call for death for America, yet they’ll censor a President of the United States,” Hagerty added. 

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Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., similarly took aim at Section 230, which he said was “designed to promote more free speech” and has instead “created a safe haven for Facebook and Twitter” to suppress conservatives. 

“Do I think that when somebody invades another country, pulling them down off of as many social media platforms as possible makes sense, of course. But I think the more mundane has to be that when in doubt, free speech should be allowed everywhere. And I’m willing to have reprehensible free speech rather than have less people able to speak their mind,” Issa said. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin 

Russian President Vladimir Putin 
(Yuri Kochetkov/Pool)

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., equated the “silencing” or “canceling” of conservatives on social media to “book burning.”

“We’ve seen it with socialism. They always felt that they have to get rid of everybody’s ideas, and that’s exactly what they’re doing,” Scott said. ‘So we’ve got to stand up. We’ve got to hold Big Tech accountable. If they’re going to be publishers, if they’re going to pick and choose what they want on their sites. Then they’ve got to be held accountable.” 

Scott continued, “And you can’t allow thugs like Maduro and Venezuela and the Ayatollah on it, on a site and then not, look, you know, conservative in American society doesn’t make any sense, but people are being canceled all over this country because they have a different view than it was some of the Big Tech want.”

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Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., blasted Big Tech as a “joke” for allowing Russia’s “disinformation” on its platforms while barring conservatives. 

“Honestly, I think Big Tech is a joke at this point. You know, if you were going to censor conservatives with their thoughts about, you know, vaccines or their thoughts about, you know, the 2020 elections, but you’re not going to take the Russians off the platform who are literally putting out disinformation- not misinformation, disinformation about what’s happened in Ukraine? I think it’s a joke,” Donalds told Fox News Digital. “I think it’s atrocious. They need to actually be consistent. If they were consistent, nobody would have a problem. But the issue is that they’re being politically subjective simply because, in my view, they support Democrats and a liberal ideology in a liberal agenda.”

The Facebook app. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)

The Facebook app. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)

Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., told Fox News Digital, “We face throttling on social media all across the board but I believe when you start seeing that Donald Trump is kicked off social media right now, you literally have Vladimir Putin, who we’ve all seen videos of his fighter jets literally bombing homes… You hear young children screaming in the background. We see old women whose faces have been marred by the bombs dropped by Vladimir Putin. We see his soldiers posting videos, selfie videos of them sending missile salvos into civilian-held areas.”

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He added, “We realize that social media doesn’t actually care about justice. They don’t actually care about doing what’s right. They just care about progressing with their woke ideology. And so I believe we need to get all social media back and under control and break up Big Tech monopolies because they have far too much control.”

Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., said it’s “almost incomprehensible” that Big Tech cracks down to “hush” conservative voices while they’ve “amplified the Ayatollah and Vladimir Putin and all these despots all over the world.”

“And right now in Ukraine, where we need to see what’s going on, the images that are being sent missiles are striking homes with mothers and babies in their arms. I mean, this needs to get out. And so any of the social media that are suppressing the truth of what Russia is doing in Ukraine, stop it. We need the truth,” Green said. 

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Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga, expressed confidence that once Republicans take back the House and Senate following the 2022 midterms, “significant legislation” will be passed that will “bring back our First Amendment rights of free speech without harassment and fear coming from Big Government or Big Tech.”

Fox News’ Jayme Chandler, Charles Creitz, Brian Flood, Kelly Laco, Andrew Murray, Cortney O’Brien, Brooke Singman, Angelica Stabile and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report. 

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