Gun Owners of America Files Campaign Finance Law Complaint Against Facebook, AFP Fact Check, and Kamala Harris for Arbitrary Fact-Checking and Foreign Election Interference
In the complaint, the pro-gun organization alleged that the aforementioned actors violated provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by being involved in “fact checking” of articles that criticized Kamala Harris’s track record on Second Amendment policies.
Facebook fights the dissemination of so-called “false news” on its platform by using “fact-checkers” to refute and limit the reach of information shared on its platform. One of the “fact checkers” is AFP Fact Check, a foreign media organization that is a recipient of subsidies coming from the French government.
GOA Director of Communications Jordan Stein listed some of the faulty “fact checks”:
Examples of erroneous “fact checks” are two articles concerning VP candidate Kamala Harris’ record on the Second Amendment. Both articles – written by Cam Edwards and GOA’s own Rachel Malone – correctly demonstrated Harris’ anti-gun record, but were rated “false” by Facebook, which used the foreign AFP as its source.
AFP argued that Harris is in favor of gun ownership. However, the articles that were targeted by the fact check noted that Harris penned an amicus brief expressing her opposition to an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. When the articles were posted on Facebook, their reach was largely reduced and a label was slapped on them that read “false news.” Instead, Facebook users were offered the AFP’s version of the “truth.”
GOA’s complaint stated:
Facebook has recruited an agent of a European government to control which messages about U.S. elections may be heard, and which should be suppressed. Based on its favored status within Facebook, AFP Fact Check has been given access to the Facebook site, along with the unilateral powers to declare information it opposes to be “False News,” to censor, diminish, or even remove opposing views that are posted on Facebook, and to superimpose AFP’s own version of the alleged “truth” in its place.
The story gets juicier though. Due to the fact that Facebook is letting a foreign entity provide aid during an election cycle, GOA is calling on the FEC to look for potential FECA violations. The complaint reads:
Facebook and AFP Fact Check have provided valuable services to the political campaign of Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris. [Facebook’s] employees have used corporate time and resources to target and remove political speech critical of their favored candidate, because such speech has been deemed harmful to that candidate, all for the purpose of influencing the 2020 Presidential Election. Because [Facebook and AFP Fact Check] are corporations, they are prohibited from providing this service to the campaign free of charge, or for less than they should normally charge. Therefore, these services constitute a prohibited corporate in-kind contribution to the Harris campaign.
John Crump, a journalist and Virginia Director for Gun Owners of America, suffered a lifetime ban for sharing Malone’s article on his personal Facebook page. In a piece for the Houston Courant, Crump wrote, “The social media platforms try to play both sides of the fence. When someone posts something illegal, the company claims that they are just a ‘platform,’ so they are protected from civil and criminal penalties. When they want to remove opinions they don’t like, Facebook claims that they moderate content like a publisher. It is time they either allow free speech or the government should strip Facebook of their Digital Millennium Copyright Act protections.”
There’s a clear pattern of attacking Middle American values among Silicon Valley giants. Organizations that push for traditional American concepts such as the Second Amendment will likely face stiff censorship form these thought controllers from here moving forward.
Gun organizations must have contingencies in place to make sure that they can get their message across.