NEWS

Trump remains banned ~ Oversight Board

By Dan Egbe

May 5,2021

 

Facebook’s independent Oversight Board has upheld a decision to ban former US president Donald Trump from the social media platform.

However the board also said Facebook will have to “reassess” the indefinite ban it gave to Mr Trump within six months, as it labelled it “arbitrary”.

While upholding the suspension, the board faulted Facebook in a statement for the way it made the decision.

The board said the ongoing risk of serious violence justified Facebook’s suspension at the time, but said it “was not appropriate for Facebook to impose an ‘indefinite’ suspension.”

The board said Facebook was seeking to avoid its responsibilities by applying “a vague, standardless penalty” and then referring the case to the board to resolve.

“We are not cops, reigning over the realm of social media.”

Read Also Fmr. President Donald Trump Launches Social Media Platform

“We will now consider the board’s decision and determine an action that is clear and proportionate,” Nick Clegg, Facebook vice-president of global affairs and communication, published in a blog entry following the decision.

“In the meantime, Mr. Trump’s accounts remain suspended.”

The inflammatory posts that led to suspension

Mr Trump’s social media accounts were suspended on January 6 for several posts he made in the lead up to the US Capitol insurrection.

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The decision marked the first time Facebook had blocked a current president, prime minister or head of state over a post they had made.

“We love you. You’re very special,” he said to the rioters in the first post.

In the second, he called them “great patriots” and told them to “remember this day forever.”

Those violated Facebook’s rules against praising or supporting people engaged in violence, the board said.

At the time of the suspension, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a post that “the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”

The company later referred the case to its recently established board, which includes academics, lawyers and rights activists, to decide whether to uphold the ban or restore Mr Trump’s accounts.

The binding verdict marks a major decision for the board, which rules on a small slice of challenging content decisions and which Facebook created as an independent body as a response to criticism over how it handles problematic material.

Mr Trump, who has been sending out short, emailed press releases, continued to promote election misinformation in one on Monday, saying “the Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!”

On Tuesday, he launched a new web page to share messages that readers can then re-post to their Facebook or Twitter accounts. A senior adviser has said Mr Trump also has plans to launch his own social media platform.

Facebook has said Mr Trump, who has 35 million Facebook followers, would be subject to the same policies as ordinary users after the end of his presidency. This means that if he is returned to the platform, his posts will now be eligible for fact-checking.

Source: Reuters/ABC

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