On Wednesday, Facebook blocked Trump 2020 advisory board member Jenna Ellis Rives over a pro-life post. She appealed the decision. On Sunday, Facebook finally got back to her, and doubled down, claiming the post violated its “community standards” on “hate speech.”
Rives posted a photo of a tweet from blogger Matt Walsh, pointing out how transgender activism undermines key pro-choice arguments. “Gender is a social construct but I am woman hear me roar but anyone can be a woman but no uterus no opinion but transwomen are women but I demand women’s rights but men are women but men are scum but drag queens are beautiful but appropriation is evil,” Walsh tweeted.
Facebook blocked Rives’s post, calling it “hate speech.”
Rives shared a screenshot of the Facebook block, and Facebook blocked that, as well.
The Trump advisory board member also chose to “appeal” Facebook’s decision on the post.
Yet, four days after her appeal, Rives finally heard the social media company’s response: the post “doesn’t follow our Community Standards.”
“No actual reason given,” Rives told PJ Media. “That’s ridiculous. And no way to appeal. And look at the lag time. Wednesday 7:52 p.m. and they decided Sunday at 1:30 a.m.”
After the original block, the Trump advisory board member told PJ Media that “Facebook’s ‘community standards’ simply mean they are… censoring conservative thought.”
“Facebook continues to suppress conservatives critiquing the progressive left and calling out their hypocrisy,” Rives said. “We never see this kind of suppression when it’s actual hatred from the left, for instance, attacks against Mike Pence for his Christian beliefs.”
This is not the first time Rives, a constitutional lawyer and author, had a post taken down from Facebook. Before she joined the Trump campaign and got married, and just after the convictions of Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, Jenna Ellis wrote an article explaining why the convictions of Manafort and Cohen did not put President Trump in legal jeopardy. Facebook took down her post and a similar post from CNN contributor Salena Zito, branding their articles “spam.”
The timing seemed rather significant, as many liberal outlets were sharing speculation that the Manafort and Cohen convictions could bring down the president. In the crucial hours after the story, two conservative opinions were silenced on Facebook.
The timing of this block may also be significant. Abortion issues have come front and center in the political debate after the Alabama Senate passed — and Gov. Kay Ivey (R-Ala.) signed — a powerful pro-life bill challenging Roe v. Wade. Many Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential election attacked the bill, and many of the same candidates celebrated transgender identity back in March.
Matt Walsh’s tweet is salient political speech, and Jenna Ellis Rives tried to give it a platform on Facebook, where she has more than 2,000 friends.
When asked if she thinks the timing was suspect, Rives said, “Absolutely.”
“This is what Facebook does. They censor conservative thought on key issues at key moments to keep us from commenting against the left’s narrative. Then once the news cycle has had 24-48 hours, Facebook comes back with some lame apology and blames their ‘algorithms.’ It’s happened to me personally several times now at key moments for conservative politics with my posts or opinion pieces, and other prominent conservative voices.”
“It’s also very suspect as a member of the Advisory Board. I didn’t even editorialize, just posted a screenshot of Matt’s tweet with an emoji. How is that possibly against their ‘community standards?'” she asked.
Yet Facebook’s decision not to apologize in this case seems particularly noteworthy. The social media company did not just block a member of Trump’s advisory board — it insisted that block was not an “algorithm” mistake. While Facebook refused to give any explanation for why the post is “hate speech,” it would not budge on blocking Rives for it.
It is also particularly conspicuous that Facebook has blocked Rives, a Trump advisory board member, but not the dozens of others who posted Matt Walsh’s tweet verbatim on Facebook. Either Facebook considers the very same words to be “hate speech” only when in photograph form, or the company is targeting Rives for her prominence or her conservative views.
Facebook has some explaining to do.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.