By KIM CHANDLER, Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Facebook briefly took down Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s campaign page Tuesday morning, indicating it had been mistakenly flagged as an imposter account, though the governor suggested the move was prompted by her criticism of President Joe Biden’s vaccination mandate.
Ivey, a Republican , cited her staunch opposition to the Democratic president’s vaccine push. But Facebook indicated that was not the case.
“Facebook banned my campaign page this morning. We fought back and won. Evidently, they’re upset that I said I’m standing in the way of President Biden to protect Alabamians from this outrageous overreach by the federal government,” Ivey said in a statement posted on social media. The dispute involved Ivey’s campaign page and not her gubernatorial account. Ivey is running for reelection in 2022.
Ivey added that “if big tech thinks they can silence us and that I won’t fight back, then honey, they haven’t met me. They have another thing coming. I’m not backing down. I never will. We’re fighting Washington. We’ll fight big tech too.” Ivey said.
However, Facebook indicated the content on Ivey’s page played no role.
“Earlier today, the Governor’s campaign page was mistakenly restricted for less than an hour for reasons unrelated to any posted content. When we learned of our mistake, the page was quickly restored,” a Facebook company spokeswoman wrote in an email.
The tech giant indicated that the campaign page had been mistakenly flagged as an imposter account.
The governor’s campaign responded with a statement calling that a “nonsense excuse.” It added that Facebook first said it was unpublishing the page because of “harassment and bullying” and the campaign fought to get it restored.
Ivey has strongly encouraged peopled to get vaccinated against COVID-19, even going as far to say. “it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks” for a spike in COVID-19 cases. But Ivey is also among Republican leaders nationwide who have vowed resistance to Biden’s mandate. Biden is mandating that all employers with more than 100 workers require their employees to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. Another 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be vaccinated, as will all employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government.
Ivey’s campaign indicated the action came after a post that shared a conservative streaming network’s post headlined “Joe Biden threaten governors” and included a snippet from Biden’s announcement.
The segment of the speech appeared to reference governors who have fought local school districts’ efforts to require masks in schools, something Alabama has not done. Alabama leaves the decision to local school districts.
“If they will not help, if those governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way. The Department of Education has already begun to take legal action against states undermining protection that local school officials have ordered,” Biden said.