Facebook Oversight Board has upheld the suspension of former United States president, Donald Trump on Facebook and Instagram, validating the earlier decision to suspend him.
The board, however, questioned the longevity of the suspension.
It said “it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose” an “indefinite suspension” on Trump and that it violated its own rule.
However, Facebook has been given a duration of 6 months to conclude on the matter, making the sole decision of Trump returning to its platform or not.
The Board’s statement
Within 6 months of today, Facebook must review this matter and decide a new penalty that reflects its rules, the severity of the violation, and prospect of future harm. Facebook can either impose a time-limited suspension or account deletion.
— Oversight Board (@OversightBoard) May 5, 2021
The board in charge of the fair ruling of offences of Facebook and Instagram platform said Facebook had violated its own rules.
However, it has said that the decision should be reviewed, and the same proportional judgment given to other cases should be given to this case.
This means Facebook should review its decision on both Trump’s ban on Facebook and Instagram and decide a new penalty that reflects its rules within 6 months.
The board also referred to the decision to permanently suspend Trump from the platform as “indeterminate and standardless”.
It said the case should be treated appropriately with the rules applied to others on the platform.
This is coming after criticism has gone out on the decision of the indefinite suspension.
Many had argued that it wasn’t consistent with the rules it applied to others on its platform.
Comments from the announcement
Nick Clegg, Facebook’s VP of global affairs and communications, said that Facebook would consider its decision regarding the case and review its policy; however, Trump will remain suspended until the decision is taken.
Also, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a social democrat, admitted in a press conference she co-chaired that the platform did not have an easy answer.
She added that Facebook would most laud the decision.
“We are telling Facebook to go back and be more transparent about how it assesses these things. Treat all users the same and don’t give arbitrary penalties,” she added.
However, Facebook has responded that it would work on its policy and “consider the board’s decision and determine an action that is clear and proportionate,” but the account would still be suspended till then.
Why was the account blocked?
In January, Trump was acquitted for insinuating the violence that took place in the Capitol.
Following the riot on January 6th in the Capitol Hill riots, Facebook banned Trump from its platforms. Facebook said it broke its “glorifcation of violence” rules.
Although Facebook had originally imposed a 24 hours suspension after the attack, it was extended to an indefinite suspension.
Mack Zukerberg, the owner of Facebook, said that it was too much of a risk allowing Trump on its platform.
Other platforms like Twitter, YouTube also did the same, banning Trump from their sites after the incident.
Trump sets up his own social website
On Tuesday, Trump launched his own social website to give his followers an update.
This was after being banned from all social media sites. He had declared on the site that “What Facebook, Twitter, and Google have done is a total disgrace”.
He had also referred to himself as President of the US in his speech.
“Free speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the radical left lunatics are afraid of the truth.
“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,” he added.
About Facebook Oversight Board
Mark Zukerberg established the board through grants from Facebook.
However, it operates as an independent board.
It was purposed to oversee the policy of Facebook and make sure issues are dealt with fairly.
Cases related to hate speech, nudity ban, cyberbullying, misinformation policies, and many more are what the board deals with.
Facebook Oversight Board was first announced in 2018, set up in 2019, and in October 2020, it made its existence of the user appeal system.
It took its first set of cases out of 20,000 cases and has ruled 9 cases since then.
The board said it plans to prioritise cases that can affect a larger group worldwide, as it can’t hear all the appealed cases.
So, cases will be open to seven days of hearing and commenting by the public.
The comments will be reviewed, and a final decision will be made, presumably that the post will be taken down.
However, the Oversight board consists of three interlocking elements, including; Board Members, the Trust and the Administration.
It has 20 members, including five trustees: Kristina Arriaga, Wanda Felton, Cherin Chalaby, Kate O’Regan, and Robert Post.
Their responsibilities are sharing mutual accountability in realising the Board’s purpose. Still, they all have different responsibilities.
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