San Francisco – Prof. Facebook designated board Journalists, activists and lawyers She ruled on Wednesday To support social networks Banned Ex-President Donald J TrumpAn end to any immediate return by Mr. Trump to mainstream social media and a renewal of the debate about the power of technology on online discourse.
FB Supervisory Board, Which acts as a quasi-court for company content decisions, said the social network was right to block Mr Trump after he used the site to provoke Mutiny in Washington In January. The commission said the continuing risk of violence “justified” the suspension.
But the board also said that the indefinite suspension is “inappropriate” and that the company should apply a “specific penalty”. The board has given Facebook six months to make its final decision on the status of Mr Trump’s account.
“Our only job is to hold this very powerful organization, Facebook, accountable,” said Michael McConnell, co-chair of the Oversight Board, in a call to reporters. He said the ban on Mr. Trump “does not meet these criteria.”
The decision adds difficulties to Mr Trump’s return to mainstream social media, which he used during his years in the White House to curry favor with setting policy, criticizing opponents and angering tens of millions of his followers. Twitter and YouTube have also blocked Trump In January after the mutiny at the Capitol, saying that the risk of harm and the potential for violence it created was too great.
But while Mr Trump’s Facebook account remains suspended for the time being, he may still be able to return to the social network once the company reviews its actions. On Tuesday, Mr. Trump revealed a new website, “from Donald J Trump’s office,” to reach out to his supporters. It looked more like a Twitter feed, complete with posts written by Mr Trump that can be shared on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Trump representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Trump’s comment continues on Facebook Conservatives, who have long accused social media companies of suppressing right-wing voices, have given new fuel against the platforms. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has testified in Congress several times in recent years about whether the social network has demonstrated a bias against conservative political views. He denied it.
In a tweet, Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee said the House’s decision was “pathetic.”
Democrats have targeted how Facebook has been used to spread lies. Frank Balloni, chair of the House Energy and Trade Committee, tweeted: “Donald Trump has played a big role in helping Facebook spread misinformation, but whether or not it is on the platform, Facebook and other social media platforms that have the same business model find ways. To highlight split content to increase ad revenue. ”
The decision underscored the power of technology companies in determining who can say what on the Internet. While Mr. Zuckerberg said Not wanting his company to be the “rule of truth” in social discourse, Facebook has become increasingly active about the types of content it allows. To prevent the spread of disinformation, the company has taken strict measures Conspiracy theory groupsAnd election lies and anti-vaccination content in recent months, before it culminated in the banning of Mr Trump in January.
“This case has dramatic implications for the future of speech on the Internet because the public and other platforms are looking at how the censorship board will deal with the difficult debate that will arise again around the world,” said Nate Pearcelli, a professor at Stanford University. Law School.
He added, “President Trump has pushed the envelope of permissible talk on these platforms and has set external borders so that if you do not want to pursue him, you allow a great deal of incitement, hate speech and disinformation on the Internet. That others will publish.
In a statement, Facebook said it was “pleased” that the board realized its January ban of Mr. Trump was justified. The company added that it would look at the ruling and “establish a clear and proportionate procedure.”
Mr Trump’s case is the most prominent of the Facebook censorship board, created in 2018. The board of directors, made up of 20 journalists, activists and ex-politicians, reviews and adjudicates the company’s most controversial content management decisions. Mr. Zuckerberg has referred to it repeatedly as “the Supreme Court on Facebook”.
But while the commission is positioned as independent, it is established and funded by Facebook and has no legal authority or enforcement. Critics were skeptical of the board’s independence, and said it gives Facebook the power to make tough decisions.
The decision in each of its cases is carried out by a committee composed of five persons chosen from among the twenty members of the Board of Directors, and one of them must be from the country in which the case arose. The committee reviews comments on the issue and makes recommendations to the entire Board of Directors, which makes a decision by majority vote. After the verdict, Facebook has seven days to act on the board’s decision.
Since the board began passing judgments in January, it has rescinded Facebook’s decisions in four of the five cases it reviewed. In one case, the board of directors asked Facebook to take back a post that Joseph Goebbels, the head of Nazi propaganda, had used to make a point about Trump’s presidency. Facebook removed the post earlier because it “promoted dangerous individuals,” but complied with the board’s decision.
In another case, the panel ruled that Facebook had overruled it by deleting a post by a French user that had wrongly suggested that the drug hydroxychloroquine could be used to treat Covid-19. Facebook returned the post, but also said it would continue to remove the misinformation by following guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
In the case of Mr Trump, Facebook also asked the board of directors to provide recommendations on how to handle the accounts of political leaders. On Wednesday, the board of directors suggested that the company publicly explain when it has been applying special rules to influencers, although it should impose specific time limits when doing so. The board also said that Facebook should explain more clearly the process of strikes and sanctions, and develop and publish a policy governing response to crises or new situations where its regular operations will not prevent imminent harm.
“Facebook has been clearly misused by influential users,” said Helly Thorning-Schmidt, Co-Chair of the Supervisory Board.
Facebook does not have to adopt these recommendations but has said that it will “review them carefully”.
For Mr. Trump, Facebook has long been a place to rally his digital base and support other Republicans. More than 32 million people followed him on Facebook, although this was much less than the more than 88 million followers on Twitter.
Over the years, Mr. Trump and Mr. Zuckerberg have also shared a strained relationship. Mr. Trump has regularly attacked executives in Silicon Valley for what he viewed as their suppression of conservative rhetoric. He also threatened B. Article 230, Which is a legal shield that protects companies like Facebook from liability for what users post.
Mr. Zuckerberg has occasionally criticized some of Mr. Trump’s policies, including dealing with the pandemic and immigration. But with calls from lawmakers, civil rights leaders and even Facebook employees to rein in Mr Trump on social media, Mr Zuckerberg refused to act. He argued that the rhetoric of political leaders – even if they spread lies – deserves to be published and serves the public interest.
The two men also appeared friendly during occasional meetings in Washington. Mr. Zuckerberg visited the White House more than once to eat In private with Mr. Trump.
Literature ended on January 6, hours before his supporters stormed the Capitol, Mr Trump used Facebook and other social media in an effort to question the results of the presidential election, which he lost to Joseph R Biden Jr. Trump wrote on Facebook, “We’ve had enough of our country, they’re not going to take it anymore!”
Less than 24 hours later, Mr. Trump was Banned from the platform Indefinitely. While his Facebook page remained open, it was sleeping. His last Facebook post on January 6 said, “I ask everyone on the US Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence!”
Cecilia Kang Contributed to reporting from Washington.