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Facebook Bans La Crosse GOP from advertising

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Bill Feehan, chair of the La Crosse County Republican Party, is calling Facebook's move to ban their advertisements and reduce their page reach interference with the 2020 election.

Restrictions made by Facebook to the La Crosse County Republican Party Facebook page. (Courtesy: Bill Feehan)

"They did this to us without any warning... no notification," said Feehan. "They just pulled the plug on us. They didn't even bother to talk to us."

Page restrictions made by Facebook to the La Crosse County Republicans Page. (Courtesy: Bill Feehan)

This comes after several of their posts were deemed false and removed by the social media company.

Facebook fact-checkers looked into several posts made by or shared by the page, regarding topics like Joe Biden wearing a wire during the presidential debate, CDC guidance and mask-wearing, and what Feehan claimed was a humorous meme regarding President Trump.

Facebook Fact-Checker on posts made by the La Crosse Republican Party Page. (Courtesy Bill Feehan)

Facebook responded to the page by blocking any advertising put out by the page. Two of them were for Kevin Hoyer who is running in the Wisconsin 94th District Assembly seat which Feehan believes is interference with the election.

Advertisement for Kevin Hoyer that was pulled by Facebook. (Courtesy: Bill Feehan)

The La Crosse County Republican Chair said he believes this issue needs to be addressed by the federal government because he thinks it strikes at the heart of free speech issues.

"We can't have a private entity like this that's going to shutdown one side of the political spectrum completely," said Feehan. "People deserve to have that information and to say that you're shutting it down because you think the information that's put out is false, that's just not reasonable."

Feehan believes that if a site like Facebook is allowed to fact-check edit posts, then they should lose their federal exemption protection. News 19 spoke with a local attorney regarding this exemption that protects Facebook.

"People are complaining about this section 230 of the Communications Decency Act because it gives content... Facebook, Twitter, any social media site protection for content that's posted by third parties and comments made by other people," said Joseph Veenstra of Johns, Flaherty & Collins, SC. "Until they get a complaint, you really have no right to sue them for anything."

Veenstra also wanted to make it known that he works with Representative Steve Doyle who is running against Hoyer in this election.

News 19 reached out to Facebook for comment but did not receive a reply specific to this case.

Mike Beiermeister

WXOW Weekend Anchor and Reporter

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