Facebook’s Oversight Board to Review Trump Suspension
Facebook Inc. announced on Jan. 21 that its outside oversight board will decide whether to reinstate President Trump’s Facebook account, until then, his account remains suspended. Facebook executives, including Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg, cannot reverse the decision the board makes.
Facebook executives announced that they believe they made the right decision to ban his account.
“We believe our decision was necessary and right,” the Vice President of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, wrote.
“Given its significance, we think it is important for the board to review it and reach an independent judgment on whether it should be upheld.”
Trump’s account was originally suspended on Jan. 7 after the storming of the capitol which left five dead.
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Zuckerberg wrote.
“Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”
The oversight board expects to start accepting public comments next week. Trump will be able to participate in these public comments as well. The board will have 90 days to make a decision, but members of the board intend to move as quickly as possible.
If the board decides that Facebook was wrong to ban Trump’s account, he could return to posting on the platform, as well as Instagram (another Facebook-owned platform). Facebook will need to implement the board’s decision within a week of its announcement.
This case could set a precedent for how other social media giants respond to world leaders violating their company policies.
Some have criticized Facebook’s decision to send the case to its oversight board because they believe it’s an attempt for the company to hide its role in the insurrection that took place at the capitol.
“We are concerned that Facebook is using its oversight board as a figleaf to cover its lack of open, transparent, coherent moderation policies, its continued failure to act against inciters of hate and violence and the tsunami of mis- and disinformation that continues to flood its platform,“ the Real Facebook Oversight Board tweeted.
“This case exposes the dangerous inadequacy of Facebook’s ability to police itself: it can’t. This underlines the urgent necessity for regulation now.”
The board was established last year to provide an appeals process for content moderation decisions on the platform, and they’re known as Facebook’s “supreme court.”
They accepted their first six cases in December, and these decision makers include a former prime minister, human rights experts and legal scholars.