Two outspoken Florida gun shops say their Facebook accounts were suspended this week over their reaction to the horrific shooting in Orlando.
Speaking to CBS12’s Kathleen Walter, “Florida Gun Supply” owner Andy Hallinan says Facebook removed his page Tuesday for allegedly engaging in “unauthorized sales of firearms.”
“I woke up this morning to my phone just lighting up. People couldn’t access my Facebook page,” Hallinan told CBS12. “I got phone calls from other gun shops.”
Steve Champion, owner of American “Gun and Pawn,” also had his account suspended over alleged violations regarding “unauthorized” firearm sales.
“I pulled (Facebook) up, and it says, ‘We unpublished your page,'” Champion similarly told CBS12.
According to Hallinan, who once called his gun shop a “Muslim-free” zone, the move by Facebook seems to be in response to both shops’ political speech – not to false claims about their business.
“We all posted about Orlando,” said Hallinan.
Both pages placed blame not on the firearms used but on the hateful individual and radical Islam following the attack.
After being questioned on the issue by to CBS12, Facebook officials called the pages’ suspensions an “error” before quickly restoring them.
“The pages were removed in error and restored as soon as we were able to investigate. Our team processes millions of reports each week, and we sometimes get things wrong. We’re very sorry about this mistake.”
While the issue could be a simple mistake, moves by Facebook in the past – which include promises by CEO Mark Zuckerberg to censor politically incorrect posts about the refugee crisis – lead many to believe the social media giant is punishing certain accounts for political speech.