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A lawmaker on the House Armed Services Committee is pressing Facebook to explain why it banned advertisements from a conservative-leaning newspaper that has investigated Chinese human rights abuses, in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.) has requested that Facebook explain its reasons for banning the Epoch Times from advertising on the social media site. The lawmaker suggests the paper was banned in part due to its critical coverage of the Chinese communist government's routine human rights abuse.
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The letter comes at a time when the proliferation of Chinese communist propaganda in the United States is under increased scrutiny. Banks and other lawmakers are investigating how the communist regime spreads propaganda in the United States while using its international economic leverage to censor content within the country.
Banks in his letter to Zuckerberg accuses Facebook of removing the Epoch Times ads in a bid to appease China's government, which has oppressive censorship rules that govern websites and their business interests in the country. The ban appears to be "another instance of Facebook suppressing an opinion it dislikes," according to the lawmaker.
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"Congress will not sit by while Facebook hinders the Epoch Times‘ efforts to overcome Chinese persecution," Banks wrote. "By prohibiting the Epoch Times from advertising, you have indirectly aided the Chinese Communist Party in their worldwide soft power competition with the United States—using the same censorship tactics as [communist leader] Xi Jinping."
The Epoch Times was prohibited from advertising its anti-China content on July 18 for allegedly violating the company's ad policies and seeking to skirt its content review systems. The news outlet created secondary accounts to purchase advertising as a workaround to the ban, violating Facebook's guidelines. However, Banks says the workaround was only done in response to what he describes...
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