Facebook Sticks With Its Decision To Ban Trump
- Posted on May 05, 2021
- Editors Pick
- By Hannatu
Facebook has stuck with its decision to ban Donald Trump from using its platforms. The company's oversight board, which consists of experts on various subjects from around the globe, ruled in favor of the giant corporation upholding the decision to suspend the controversial ex-president.
The oversight board makes decisions independently, and without any influence from the company. It was set up by Mark Zuckerberg as a way to open up the decision-making process on tricky issues relating to the community. The CEO Mark Zuckerberg insisted that he doesn't want to solely a determiner of truth for a platform as large as Facebook and went ahead to create an outside body that can deliberate on issues pertaining to the community, without direct influence from the company.
The board is funded by Facebook, and its rulings are recommendations at best, as Facebook isn't bound to adhere to them.
This oversight board has however decided that the time frame of the suspension was too harsh. It claimed that Facebook was trying to evade responsibilities by sending the case to the board for ruling without a clear policy on what constitutes the reason for a permanent suspension.
The board, in a statement released on Wednesday, has insisted Facebook reviews the case and comes up with a more "proportionate response" like the ones applied for other of the site's users. It gave a time frame of six months for Facebook to review its decision, as well as create explicit policies that find a balance between an individual's freedom of expression and public safety.
Following the announcement, Facebook put up a blog post, part of which read,
“We will now consider the board’s decision and determine an action that is clear and proportionate. In the meantime, Mr. Trump’s accounts remain suspended.”
The former President Donald Trump was suspended from Facebook on the 7th of January following consistent posts on the platform that violates Facebook's policies. His posts were misinformative, hateful, and it fuelled violence. After the insurrection which took place on the 6th of January, where rioters broke into the Capitol after Trump lost the presidential election to Joe Biden, Trump took to his Facebook to openly declare support for the group and declare them "great patriots."
In a video, which was taken down by Facebook, he told rioters, "I know your pain, I know you're hurt. We had an election which was stolen from us."
He posted, “We love you. You’re very special."
This is against Facebook's policy of prohibiting the praise of people engaged in violence.
Hours later, other large social media companies like Twitter, Google, and Snapchat, also banned the former president.
Mark Zuckerberg, in a post following the ban, wrote,
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great."
Four months later, the ban is still in place, although a review is to be expected in the next six months. Although the oversight board can see that Trump severely violated Facebook's policy, it also thinks that there was no standard procedure on the handing out of an indefinite ban. According to a member of the board, the company should create a more explicit guideline, which involves publicly explaining the rules to users on what actions lead to a particular time-frame of suspension.
The board has also found Facebook complicit in some activities like the Capitol riot for example, where rioters claimed Facebook was the site where information regarding the riot was disseminated. The platform had served as home to Trump, and his consistent outrageous, and hateful comments, turning a blind eye as he and his followers bullied and abused others on the app. The site was also instrumental during Trump's campaign, as over $160 million was spent on Facebook campaigns alone, according to a campaign tracker.
Following the suspension, Donald Trump wrote on his new website, “What Facebook, Twitter, and Google have done is a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our Country. Free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth”.
He added, “Corrupt social media companies must pay a political price."
His supporters have come at the companies heavily, with claims of interfering with his right to public expression. Others have brought up concerns regarding the power of tech companies to control public discourse and narratives.
The website was launched on Tuesday and is to be used to share messages that readers can re-post to their other social media accounts. It isn't clear yet if social media companies will allow that, as Facebook took down a video recently posted to Facebook and Instagram, by Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara, where she interviewed him.
There have also been rumors of the ex-president's plans to launch his own social media platform.
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