Facebook’s supervisory board says Trump ban was appropriate

The Supervisory Board, Facebook so-called supreme court for having settled the questions relating to the policy of moderation, decided to maintain / cancel the “indefinite suspension” imposed on former US President Donald Trump. In one declaration, the board said that while it was appropriate to restrict access to the account, it was not appropriate to suspend the official with an “indeterminate penalty and no standard.” Accordingly, the Council requested that Facebook “consider this issue” to “justify a proportionate and compliant response” to corporate rules.

In its conclusions, the Council states that the “indefinite” suspension was “not appropriate” and that “Facebook is not allowed to keep a user off the platform for an indefinite period”. He added that Facebook moderators did not follow any existing procedures and that indefinite suspensions are not described in the company’s terms of service. Facebook, he said, had a responsibility to “create necessary and proportionate sanctions” to deal with serious violations of its rules.

On January 6, 2021, a group of protesters stormed the United States Capitol building with the stated intention of stopping the certification of the 2020 general election. Trump had earlier today spoken out a speech implying that VP Mike Pence should “do the right thing” by discontinuing certification. He added that the protesters should “fight like hell”, or “you are not going to have a country anymore”. Shortly after, officials would be escorted from the Capitol building as rioters walked through the perimeter, with five people dying in the process. Trump would later post messages denouncing the violence but claiming the certification was invalid.

January 7, Facebook and Instagram, along with a number of other social media outlets, placed restrictions on the (then) president. The rationale was that Trump’s posts could be seen as encouraging further violence, leading to the temporary ban. Shortly after, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that “Trump intends to use his remaining time to undermine the peaceful and legal transition of power to his elected successor.” He added that the ban on accessing his Facebook and Instagram pages would last “indefinitely and at least the next two weeks as the peaceful transition of power is complete.”

On January 8, Twitter announced that it permanently suspend Donald Trump’s personal Twitter Account “Because of the risk of further incitement to violence”. The suspension was a turning point, given the number of exceptions which have been previously cut by several platforms. As the 2016 election nears and during the presidency, Facebook created an exemption for content that would otherwise violate its acceptable use policies. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he didn’t want to be a arbiter of truth, and stated that the content was considered “worthy of interest»Would stay online. In mid-2020, the company changed its policy stating that it would “label“content that violated his policy rather than deleting it – although he deleted a post from Trump starting in mid-2020 under the auspices of eradicate COVID-19 disinformation.

On January 21, Facebook referred the case, number 2020-001-FB-FBR to Supervisory Board both to rule on the suspension and also to propose “policy recommendations from the Board of Directors on suspensions when the user is a political leader”. Specifically, Facebook submitted the following two questions:

  1. Given Facebook’s values, in particular its commitment to voice and security, did it correctly decide, on January 7, 2021, to prohibit Donald J. Trump from accessing the publication of content on Facebook and Instagram indefinitely?

  2. In addition to the board’s decision on whether to maintain or revoke the indefinite suspension, Facebook welcomes the board’s observations or recommendations on suspensions when the user is a political leader.

The Oversight Committee said a group of five would investigate the matter and vote on the matter, and that decision was later ratified by a majority of members. Facebook, at the time, said it would respect the decision and was required to implement the decision within seven days. Trump has meanwhile has developed its own platform as an extension of its own website, on which we can post without fear of moderation.

The Council had initially undertaken to render its decision within 90 days of the referral, which put the deadline on April 21. At April 16however, he said he would have to delay the judgment in order to review “all comments” on the case, as he received 9,666 during the consultation period. On Monday, May 3, he announced that the decision would be published at 9 a.m. ET on May 5.

In its judgment, the board said it was appropriate that the posts Trump posted in the wake of the Capitol Riot “seriously violated” Facebook’s community standards. He said Trump’s remarks praising the rioters “violated Facebook’s rules prohibiting praise or support from those involved in the violence.” He added that by perpetuating without merit the claim that the election results were fraudulent, “Mr. Trump created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible.”

Facebook critics have said that whatever the decision of the oversight committee, the whole affair is a public relations move. The real supervisory board, a group that represents several critics of the social network, said the decision was a “smokescreen.” In a report, published monday, he said the council was a “body appointed by Facebook, paid by Facebook, created by Facebook to whitewash its most politically sensitive decisions.” He added that “Trump has repeatedly violated Facebook’s terms of service, incited hatred, spread disinformation, instigated violence, and has been used as a model for other authoritarian leaders to abuse Facebook. He should be banned forever.

The Supervisory Board seems to agree on this point, saying that “By applying a vague and non-standard sanction and then sending this matter back to the Board for resolution, Facebook is seeking to shirk its responsibilities.” He added that he “declines Facebook’s request and insists that Facebook apply and justify a defined penalty.”

This news story is under development, please update for more information.

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