Facebook restricts La Crosse County GOP page

Courtesy of La Crosse GOP

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — The La Crosse County Republican Party page was notified Tuesday that its Facebook page has been restricted by the social media giant, according to chairman Bill Feehan.

The page received a notification reading, “This Page isn’t allowed to advertise because it has repeatedly posted content that has been debunked by third-party fact-checkers. This behavior means the Page hasn’t complied with our Misinformation Advertising Policy, which is a requirement for advertising on Facebook. Its ads have been disabled and it currently can’t create or run new ads.”

Feehan called the company’s actions intolerable in an emailed statement.

“These actions which restrict free speech strike at the heart of our Democracy. Facebook is interfering in our elections and that cannot be tolerated,” Feehan said.

Posts flagged by Facebook include an article by The Federalist claiming a U.S. Centers for Disease Control study found that the majority of people getting COVID-19 wore masks and a YouTube video claiming presidential candidate Joe Biden wore a wire during the first presidential debate.

The social media platform instituted a third-party fact-checking program in 2017, using organizations that are certified through the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network. Violators have their advertising pulled and page-reach reduced.

According to Feehan, Facebook pulled two ads for Republican Kevin Hoyer, a candidate for the 95th Assembly District.

Feehan said in a statement that Facebook’s actions could cost Hoyer the chance win the race for the 94th Assembly seat, in which he is running against incumbent Rep. Steve Doyle and independent Leroy Brown.

“I expect the 94th Assembly race to be decided by a few hundred votes. This is a district President Trump won with 52% of the vote in 2016 that is held by Democrat Steve Doyle. They are interfering with our election,” Feehan said.

News 3 Now’s sister station in La Crosse has reached out to Facebook’s media line for a comment.