Facebook Oversight Board to Make Final Decision on Donald Trump’s Account
By Movieguide® Staff
In the aftermath of riots and protests at Capitol Hill, social media giants banned President Donald Trump. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg said that the ban of Trump’s account on Facebook and Instagram would last until the incumbent left office.
Post-inauguration, Facebook referred the final decision for the indefinite suspension to an oversight board. According to The Washington Post, the board is an independent Facebook-funded group composed of international professionals who have the power to review and even overturn Facebook’s decision.
The referral marks the first significant case for the board. It is highly anticipated as big tech is under scrutiny for its attack on free speech.
“Facebook had the option of asking the board to make an expedited decision for a quick turnaround, but considering the gravity of the case, it chose to allow the board to take its usual 90 days to process the case,” WIRED reported. “(Of course, it could issue its judgement sooner.) One of the four cochairs of the 20-person board will assign the case to a panel, which typically consists of five people (one must be in the North American region), and they will consider whether, as a major political player, Trump will be welcomed back. The former President will have an opportunity to present his side of the argument to the board. Meanwhile, Trump’s indefinite suspension will hold.”
Evelyn Douek, a lecturer at Harvard Law School, argues that Facebook’s decision to pass the hot potato to their board adds credibility to Zuckerberg’s push for greater accountability.
“This is clearly the right decision,” Douek said. “Had Facebook failed to send the case to the board, it would have suggested that even it wasn’t taking its oversight board seriously. Just waiting to see how [Zuckerberg] happened to feel about whether the Trump suspension should be made permanent is not a good model for how these kinds of important decisions should get made.”
Roger McNamee, a former Facebook investor and mentor to Zuckerberg, believes that Facebook will lift the ban on the former President’s account.
“Given the court-like structure and quasi-legal approach of the Facebook oversight board, I would expect them to favor reinstatement of Trump. That outcome would provide Facebook with the perfect cover to position the Trump ban as an appropriate response to a clear and present danger, not a policy to be applied broadly to world leaders.”