Gun Owners of America filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission Tuesday alleging Facebook, AFP Fact Check and vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris violated campaign finance laws.
At the center of the complaint is Facebook’s handling of two articles fact-checked by AFP.
The articles — one written by Cam Edwards for Bearing Arms and another by GOA’s Rachel Malone for the Houston Courant — highlighted Harris’ decision as San Francisco’s district attorney in 2008 to sign on to an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller arguing against the individual right to keep and bear arms.
At issue in the case was whether the District of Columbia’s total ban on possessing handguns was unconstitutional.
In the amicus brief, Harris and other district attorneys argued, “the Second Amendment provides only a militia-related right to bear arms.”
The Supreme Court found that narrow interpretation of the amendment’s language to be wrong.
“The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home,” the court held in an opinion authored by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Regardless of the backing both Edwards and Malone offered in support of their articles about Harris, Facebook-approved fact-checker AFP found both to be “false news” and Facebook penalized GOA for sharing them, the group’s Virginia state director, John Crump, told The Western Journal.
Crump also posted the Harris-signed amicus brief by itself with no additional comment, “and they marked that as false.”
“GOA groups on Facebook were all limited [in reach] at the same time because [Facebook] said that GOA was pushing false information about Kamala Harris,” he said.
Crump, who is also a journalist, reached out to Facebook’s press office questioning the way the company was handling the matter, noting both articles were “easily verifiable.”
“Why does Facebook allow the AFP to keep marking articles as false when a quick Google search would turn up the amicus brief?” he asked.
Less than an hour after he sent the emailed media query to Facebook, his personal Facebook account and fan page were shut down, he told The Western Journal.
Crump, who used to work as an engineer for Facebook, was shocked. He was further informed the decision was final, with no appeal possible.
Crump is also amazed that a foreign entity could have such power over Americans’ free speech.
“The AFP was the one who was fact-checking all this stuff incorrectly,” he said. “The AFP is basically the French version of the Associated Press.”
There is one major difference, however. AFP (which stands for Agence France-Press) gets much of its funding from the French government and government officials are members of its board.
The GOA’s FEC complaint observes, “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 GOA complaint alleges that Facebook, by suppressing truthful articles about Harris’ Second Amendment record, is making “in-kind” contributions to her campaign in violation of federal law.
Additionally, by labeling articles false that are not, AFP Fact Check is violating prohibitions against foreign nationals making in-kind contributions “for the purpose of influencing a federal election.”
Crump said the restrictions on the GOA Facebook pages were eventually lifted, but Facebook never restored his personal accounts.
“So it seems like that was kind of a retaliation,” he said.
The GOA complaint notes that Facebook is heavily staffed by Democrats.
In 2016, the company’s employees gave over $2.3 million to candidates to the approximately $160,000 contributed to Republicans.
This election cycle Facebook’s employees have contributed 80 times more to the Biden/Harris ticket: $560,493 compared to the $7,005 to Trump’s campaign.
The GOA complaint alleges that both Facebook and AFP Fact Check are using “corporate time and resources to target and remove political speech critical of their favored candidate” and thereby making illegal in-kind contributions to the Biden/Harris campaign.
“It can be reasonably concluded that the conspiracy undertaken by Facebook and AFP is not intended to protect the public against ‘false news,’ but rather to ensure that the public is not exposed to information critical of the Democratic political candidates favored by Facebook and the French company AFP,” the complaint reads.
The Western Journal reached out to Facebook for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.