It's a "sad day for America" and a "sad day for Facebook" because of the company's decision to keep former President Donald Trump off the platform, his chief of staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday while calling for the break up of the nation's big tech giants.
"A number of members of congress are now looking at, do they break up Facebook or do they make sure they don't have a monopoly," Meadows commented on Fox News' "America's Newsroom" after the news broke about Facebook's decision. "It's a sadder day for the Facebooks of the world who have actually enjoyed a wild, wild west kind of regulatory environment. I can tell you that's going to change. The discussion will happen within hours of this decision on Capitol Hill."
Facebook's Oversight Board announced Wednesday that it will uphold the ban ordered of Trump on Jan. 7, the day after the violence at the Capitol, but added that it was "not appropriate" to order an indefinite suspension rather than removing content deemed to be in violation and setting up a definite time to suspend the account or ordering a permanent removal of former president's pages.
Meadows on Wednesday accused Facebook of having "two different standards," saying there is one standard for Trump and another for people who post "more nefarious things" but still go unnoticed.
He also said he doubts that talks from both sides of the aisle concerning regulations on big tech would result in legislation that changes the rules but will instead create a "breakup of big tech."
"When you look at Google and Facebook, they have more power over what we read and what we see than any in the media," said Meadows. "We look very critically at people buying TV stations to say they shouldn't have a monopoly, yet Google and Facebook, and YouTube actually control much of what America sees."
The companies, he added, "have the ability to raise or lower the profile" on what gets posted, and that means it is "time that we break up big tech, not just regulate them."
Meanwhile, whether a suspension of Trump was for six months or six days, the decision announced Wednesday to keep him off the platform "is really about chilling free speech," said Meadows.
He continued that a new platform the former president has launched to talk to his followers is "just step one" of a four-step process to ensure that "millions and hundreds of millions of people actually get to hear from their president."
Meadows said he believes that everyone who wants to speak publicly can do that, but "we need to have some standards."
"Literally, what we're seeing is they aren't able to police themselves and what they're doing is infringing on constitutional rights," said Meadows. "They've gotten too big. It is time they are broken up."
He conceded that Facebook, as a private company, has the right of what it can do, but at the same time, it can't enjoy the benefits of being a monopoly or not having regulations that stop them from being discriminatory.
"They shouldn't have the protection of the federal government," said Meadows. "When these platforms were put up there was not a content monitor ... conservatives and those progressives will come together and find some unity on this particular issue. You're right, for different reasons but it is a perfect storm that will not bode well for the Facebooks and YouTubes and Googles of the world."
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