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La Crosse County GOP Facebook restricted

Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 5:45 PM CDT
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ONALASKA, Wis. (WEAU) -

With the presidential election 13 days away, many people are turning to social media to raise awareness for different candidates.

One area GOP page says Facebook has restricted its account and is no longer allowing it to advertise.

“Monday night I was shocked to learn that Facebook, without warning and without notice, it shut down our Facebook page,” said Bill Feehan, La Crosse County Republican Party chairman.

The La Crosse County Republican Party says Facebook has restricted its page and the 3rd District Republican page.

Feehan explains ads and posts were removed because of false information.

One of those posts, a meme regarding President Trump--something the party says was “obvious” humor.

“[The meme said] the doctor said it wasn’t his DNA that beat the COVID-19, it was USA...so clearly a joke," explained Chairman Feehan.

Another post referenced a CDC finding regarding people getting COVID-19 who wear masks.

“Their fact checkers said that we were saying that masks don’t stop the spread of COVID, that’s false, we never said that,” Feehan said. “What we’re saying is that don’t have a false sense of security because you wear a mask.”

In addition to posts being removed, the page has reduced distribution.

Tuesday, the account made a post about early in-person voting starting and says the reach was drastically different.

“We have 3,500 people who like our page, 57 people have seen that post--that’s how much they’ve reduced our reach,” added Feehan.

The Republican party calls Facebook’s actions censorship that goes against freedom of speech and is tampering with an election.

The La Crosse County Republican party worries that the advertisements being removed could cost one local candidate the election.

“This election’s going to be much closer in the 94th assembly district, that’s the race between Kevin Hoyer and Steve Doyle,” Feehan said. “It’s going to be razor-thin, that’s a district that Donald Trump carried 52 percent. So when they strike down those ads that are telling people information they need to vote, that’s interfering with an election.”

One of the two ads removed focused on Democratic candidate Steve Doyle’s past decisions.

Feehan adds that some of the posts cited as false information were weeks old.

“What most people are seeing right now from our page would have been the ads that we are boosting, that we’re paying for people to see,” explained Feehan.

The GOP chairman says that ads are pay-as-you-go, so scheduled ads that were canceled hadn’t been paid for.

WEAU has not heard back yet from Facebook for comment.

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