14:04 GMT15 June 2021
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    Facebook's independent Oversight Board on Wednesday upheld the social media platform's decision to restrict then-US President Donald Trump's posting privileges on January 7 - one day after the Capitol riot. Facebook has six months to review the suspension and put forward a response consistent with rules applied to other users of the platform.

    In the wake of the Oversight Board's decision, several GOP lawmakers and heavyweights have come out in support of the US president, and against Facebook and other big tech companies. 

    Mark Meadows, Trump's former White House Chief of Staff, told Fox News that it is a "sad for America," as well as a "sad day for Facebook." "I can tell you, a number of members of Congress are looking at, do they break up Facebook? Do they make sure that they don't have a monopoly?" he said, responding to the decision during a live news broadcast. 

    Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), also accused Facebook of acting as a monopoly, tweeting that a "fake Facebook court decides Facebook can do whatever Facebook wants, in this case, suspending Donald Trump w/o [sic] process or standards." 

    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) panned the Oversight Board's decision as "disgraceful." 

    "For every liberal celebrating Trump’s social media ban, if the Big Tech oligarchs can muzzle the former President, what’s to stop them from silencing you?" he asked via Twitter. 

    At the same time, Democratic lawmakers, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have argued that Facebook did not go far enough. 

    "Facebook is a disinformation-for-profit machine that won't accept responsibility for its role in the safety of our democracy and people," she tweeted. "Trump should be banned for good, but Facebook will continue to fumble with its power until Congress and antitrust regulators rein in Big Tech." 

    Trump made loose reference to the board's decision in a Wednesday post for his new blog

    "Free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth, but the truth will come out anyway, bigger and stronger than ever before," he wrote. "These corrupt social media companies must pay a political price, and must never again be allowed to destroy and decimate our Electoral Process."  

    Being that many US politicians use Facebook and other social media platforms as key campaign tools, the ongoing debate over Trump's suspension from Facebook, as well as his permanent suspension from Twitter, has fueled speculation about the former US president's 2024 campaign run. 

    According to Facebook advertising data, Trump and US President Joe Biden respectively spent $107 million and $94.2 million on Facebook ads for the 2020 US presidential election. 

    Earlier this week, Trump teased to talk show host Candace Owens that he is looking forward to making an announcement about a 2024 run "at the right time."  

    "As you know, it's very early. But I think people are going to be very, very happy when I make a certain announcement," he added, emphasizing that he cannot "do it too early" because of "campaign finance reasons." 

    While a concrete date has yet to be set for Trump's political re-emergence, several sources within the former US president's circle have claimed that the 74-year-old may begin holding campaign rallies as early as this month.


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