All eyes are currently on the US presidential election that is set to take place in early November, and on a slew of controversial decisions pertaining to censorship and free speech taken by giant social media platforms related to that event; however, controversies of the type are not confined to the top race alone.
Nick Ochs, the Republican candidate for Hawaii's state House District 22, has been removed by Facebook.
The decision came just over a month before the November 3 vote in Hawaii as Ochs faced Facebook's censorship wrath for his membership in the “Proud Boys” group.
Ochs understood Facebook's move as a case of election meddling by the tech giant, repeating in his comments what we've heard many times before from those censored by Facebook: that the decision came with little or no warning, and that there had been no proper explanation, other than saying nebulously that the content in question ran afoul of Facebook's community standards and terms of service.
But that approach is particularly egregious when taking place in a campaign leading up to an already in many ways contested election season, and Ochs pointed out that his Democratic rival Adrian Tam has been given a massive leg-up simply by a social network with such unprecedented reach and power excluding him, while giving Tam a platform.
“My opponent has a huge advantage that I don't. He can put his message out where people will see it and I can't and the Democrats are cheering this on,” Ochs spelled it out.
Judging by a local report, the local Democrats, including Tam, have been active in bringing about the Facebook ban on Ochs' campaign page.
“This isn't a political issue, this is a moral issue, this is about what we as a community stand for and we as welcoming people of Hawaii believe in,” said Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, the chair of the Hawaii Democratic Party.
Ochs' opponent, Democratic nominee Adrian Tam, also criticized Ochs. “I hope the voters know that this does not represent Hawaii values and more importantly that they exercise their right to vote and reject this racism, bigotry, and hateful ideology,” he says.
With Facebook now unavailable, Ochs said he would continue to campaign on Twitter.