The Facebook Oversight Board has upheld the decision by the social media giant to suspend former U.S. president Donald Trump’s account, though it also had criticism for the company’s policies.
Since the day after the deadly riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Trump’s social media accounts have been silent — muzzled for using the platforms as online megaphones to try to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power following the presidential election.
The board cited two Trump posts that contravened the company’s policy for praising or supporting people engaged in violence.
The oversight body said it was “not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension. Facebook’s normal penalties include removing the violating content, imposing a time-bound period of suspension, or permanently disabling the page and account.”
Politicians, free speech experts and activists around the world were watching the decision closely. It has implications not only for Trump but for tech companies, world leaders and people across the political spectrum — many of whom have wildly conflicting views of the proper role for technology companies when it comes to regulating online speech and protecting people from abuse and misinformation.
After years of handling Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric with a light touch, Facebook and Instagram took the drastic step of silencing his accounts in January. In announcing the unprecedented move, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the risk of allowing Trump to continue using the platform was too great.
“The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page on Jan. 7.
More to come