During a Congressional hearing Tuesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) demanded that a Facebook representative explain why a page calling for violence against GOP members of Congress had not yet been removed.
What Facebook page was he talking about?
The page in question, “Milkshakes against the Republican Party,” was temporarily unavailable. On Wednesday afternoon, it briefly went live again, before again being unavailable. Nearly 28,000 people have "liked" the page.
According to screen captures of the post obtained by the Daily Caller, some of the posts on this page called for violence against members of the Republican Party.
“Do you remember the shooting at the Republican baseball game? One of those should happen every week,” one of the posts said.
Another post stated:
Dear Crazed Shooters,
The GOP has frequent baseball practice. You really wanna be remembered, that's how you do it.
Americans tired of our politicians bathing in the blood of the innocent for a few million dollars from the terrorist organization NRA.
On Tuesday at at 3:09 PM ET, "Milkshakes" posted a video of Gaetz bringing up the page at the hearing with text that read:
Holy s**t, I just got mentioned in Congress. Might have to go MIA with the page for a while to prevent my notifications from blowing up. Trolls are already descending.
The page has again become unavailable. It is not clear who was running the page.
What happened at the hearing?
Representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube testified in a hearing before a House Judiciary Committee meeting Tuesday over whether or not social media companies are purposely suppressing conservative content.
Conservatives have repeatedly called out social media platforms for alleged bias against conservative viewpoints. However, the social media companies themselves have consistently denied these charges.
Gaetz brought up this particular Facebook page as a counterexample of an account that shared political views which were not conservative, that violated the terms of service, but was allowed to remain active. Gaetz claimed that his staff was initially told that the page did not meet the criteria for removal.
In a statement given during the time when the page seemed to have been deleted the first time, Gaetz said: "I am glad Facebook swiftly removed this offensive page; while I unconditionally support the First Amendment, inciting violence against others due to their political affiliation is not Constitutionally-protected speech."
He added, "While removing this page was a small step forward to making Facebook a safer place, bigger questions remain."
A spokesperson for Facebook said that it was not responsible for ever removing the page in question and that the company had reached out to Gaetz to clarify.
During the hearing, Monika Bickert, Facebook's head of global policy management, read the posts out loud at Gaetz's request. Asked if they violated the terms of service, Bickert said that any calls for violence would violate the terms of service. She said that the posts "should not be on Facebook," but that she would have to look at the page itself to decide if it should be suspended, and that she would follow up.