Facebook Supervisory Board Confirms Donald Trump’s Suspension | Social Media News

A semi-autonomous Facebook oversight board has upheld former US President Donald Trump’s suspension, but orders a review by the social media giant within six months.

“The Board of Directors upheld Facebook’s January 7, 2021 decision to restrict then-President Donald Trump’s access to posting content to his Facebook Page and Instagram account,” the panel said. of 20 people in its decision.

However, the board determined that it was “not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indefinite penalty and without a standard of indefinite suspension,” Michael McConnell, co-chair of the panel, telling reporters “indefinite penalties of this type, do not pass the International or US Smell Test for Clarity, Consistency, and Transparency”.

The panel called on the company within six months to “review this case to determine and justify a response that is proportionate and consistent with the rules that apply to other users of its platform”.

Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs and communications, said in a blog post that Facebook “will now review the board’s decision and determine clear and proportionate action.”

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

Without access to Facebook or Twitter, which unlike Facebook have permanently banned it, Trump, in a press release, called the bans “a total disgrace and embarrassment to our country.”

“Free speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the crazies on the radical left are afraid of the truth,” Trump continued, adding, “These corrupt social media companies must pay a political price and not must never again be allowed to destroy and decimate our electoral process.

Trump’s former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was quick to criticize the decision.

“It’s a sad day for America,” Meadows told Fox News. “They shouldn’t have a monopoly, and yet Google, Facebook and YouTube actually control much of what America sees…it’s time we dismantle big tech, not just regulate it.”

President Joe Biden did not comment on the announcement and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said they “would have no comment on the former president’s social media future.” .

PSAKI said Biden’s “view is that major platforms have a responsibility, tied to the health and safety of all Americans, to stop amplifying misinformation and disinformation about untrustworthy content. , especially when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations and elections.” PSAKI emphasized that she was not targeting any specific individual or group with her remarks.

For now, Trump will remain unable to post messages on Facebook.

“It takes a pretty big platform away from him, at least in the short term,” Al Jazeera correspondent Patty Culhane said in Washington, DC. “He’s a man who always wants to be relevant. He still has a firm grip on the Republican Party. Having access to those social media followers really helps him raise money for himself and his significant legal issues, but it could influence how people vote in the Republican primaries.”

A new section was added to Trump’s personal website on Tuesday, allowing him to share personal social posts.

Facebook’s oversight board said Donald Trump’s comments praising rioters on January 6, 2021 violated its Community Standards [Screen grab/Youtube]

Facebook, owner of Instagram, suspended Trump a day after rioters stormed the US Capitol as lawmakers gathered to certify President Joe Biden’s victory. The incident followed a week-long disinformation campaign by Trump and his allies claiming the election was “stolen”.

“The shocking events of the past 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and legal transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,” the CEO wrote. Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, on his Facebook page. January 7.

Other prominent social media platforms also hit out at Trump in the wake of the riot, with Twitter, where Trump has 88 million followers, saying his ban would be permanent.

“A serious risk of violence was possible”

The board found that two posts by Trump on Jan. 6 “seriously violated” Facebook’s standards.

In the first, Trump told the rioters, “We love you. You are very special. In the second, he called those who stormed the Capitol “great patriots,” telling them to “remember this day forever.”

“The Board found that by maintaining an unfounded narrative of voter fraud and persistent calls to action, Mr. Trump created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible,” the panel said in justification of its decision. .

“At the time of Mr. Trump’s messages, there was a clear and immediate risk of harm and his words of support for those involved in the riots legitimized their violent actions. As president, Mr. Trump had a high level of influence. The reach of his posts was significant, with 35 million followers on Facebook and 24 million on Instagram,” he added.

The panel also called on Facebook to “clear up the widespread confusion about how decisions about influential users are made,” adding that “media interest considerations should not take precedence when urgent action is needed to avoid a significant harm”.

The oversight board was launched in October 2020 amid an ongoing debate over the company’s ability to deal with hate speech and misinformation on the platform. Civil liberties advocates have also accused Facebook of limiting free speech.

The 20 members of the council, which will eventually grow to 40, include a former prime minister of Denmark and the former editor of The Guardian newspaper, as well as lawyers, human rights experts and journalists.

The first four board members were chosen directly by Facebook. These four people then worked with Facebook to select additional members, leaving some to question the board’s independence.

In its statement Wednesday, the board added that if Facebook chooses to allow Trump to return to the site after the review, the company “must remedy any further violations promptly and in accordance with its established content policies.” .

The panel did not reveal how it voted, but said a minority of members stressed that the company should require users seeking reinstatement after being suspended to “admit their wrongdoings and take action.” to abide by the rules in the future”.