Trump ban decision shows Facebook can’t use oversight board as scapegoat

Facebook’s oversight board demonstrated on Wednesday that it wouldn’t do the social network’s dirty work.

In January, former US President Donald Trump lost much of his digital reach when Facebook indefinitely booted him from the social network and Instagram, its photo service. Like other social networks, Facebook raised concerns that Trump’s online remarks could provoke more violence in the wake of the deadly Capitol Hill riot that month. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the suspension in a post that called the risks of allowing Trump to to continue using the network “simply too great.”

The decision was controversial, and the social media giant asked the oversight board tasked with reviewing its toughest content decisions to uphold or overturn Trump’s suspension. The highly watched decision put the board in a tricky spot, placing the members at the center of a firestorm about how social networks should handle political speech.

On Wednesday, the oversight board came to a decision that sent Zuckerberg and his team a strong message. It agreed with the suspension of Trump. But it found Facebook had issued a punishment that the social network’s own rules don’t describe and hadn’t adequately explained its reasoning for the penalty. The board told Facebook that it’ll be up to the social network, and not the board, to decide the length of Trump’s suspension.

“In applying a vague, standardless penalty and then referring this case to the Board to resolve, Facebook seeks to avoid its responsibilities,” the board said in its decision. “The Board declines Facebook’s request and insists that Facebook apply and justify a defined penalty.”…Read more>>


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