Facebook Oversight Board Upholds Trump’s Suspension, But Will Re-Evaluate in the Future
By Movieguide® Staff
Facebook’s oversight board came to a consensus regarding former president Donald Trump’s account, claiming that his posts encouraged “a serious risk of violence” but that they will re-evaluate in the future.
“Within six months of this decision, Facebook must reexamine the arbitrary penalty it imposed on January 7 and decide the appropriate penalty,” the Board said, upholding the suspension on Trump’s account.
Trump responded with a statement posted from his new site, “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump.”
“What Facebook, Twitter, and Google have done is a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our Country. Free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth, but the truth will come out anyway, bigger and stronger than ever before,” Trump wrote. “The People of our Country will not stand for it! These corrupt social media companies must pay a political price, and must never again be allowed to destroy and decimate our Electoral Process.”
The Board’s decision could have lasting effects on how big tech companies like Facebook will interact with American politics in the future. Despite CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s hopefulness to pawn off the difficult decision to the oversight boards, many still see the responsibility lying with his company.
“Facebook must make its decision and be held accountable for whatever it decides,” Michael McConnell, a member of the oversight board, said.
On both sides of the political aisle, the government sees this as the potential starting point of breaking up Facebook.
“It’s a sad day for Facebook because I can tell you, a number of members of Congress are now looking at, do they break up Facebook?” former Rep. Mark Meadows, former chief of staff during Trump’s presidency, told Fox News. “Do they make sure that they don’t have a monopoly?”
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the House Judiciary Committee’s top Republican, tweeted: “Break them up.”
Break them up. https://t.co/J6nnipCG6v
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) May 5, 2021
House Energy and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) tweeted: “Donald Trump has played a big role in helping Facebook spread disinformation, but whether he’s on the platform or not, Facebook and other social media platforms with the same business model will find ways to highlight divisive content to drive advertising revenues.”
He added: “Every day, Facebook is amplifying and promoting disinformation and misinformation, and the structure and rules governing its oversight board generally seem to ignore this disturbing reality. It’s clear that real accountability will only come with legislative action.”
Conservatives called into question the precedent that Facebook’s actions set for the future stifling of free speech.
“If they can ban President Trump, all conservative voices could be next,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Twitter. “A House Republican majority will rein in big tech power over our speech.”
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law also weighed in, calling the decision “dangerous.”
“In their decision today, the Facebook Oversight Board made many of the same errors that Facebook makes in its own enforcement decisions,” the lawyers’ group said. “It did not evaluate the full context of the case, and it used legal technicalities to avoid answering hard questions.”