Facebook’s “Supreme Court” has upheld Mark Zuckerberg’s blacklisting of former President Donald Trump’s accounts temporarily, giving Facebook another six months to announce whether it will be lifting the suspension or deleting Trump’s pages.
The Daily Mail reports that Facebook’s oversight board, commonly known as the “Supreme Court,” has voted to temporarily uphold the ban on former President Trump’s accounts on the platform. The board has reportedly told Facebook that it has six months to announce an end date to the former President’s suspension or permanently delete his pages.
The board announced its decision today, almost exactly four months since the Capitol riots which resulted in Trump’s suspension as the Masters of the Universe accused him of encouraging the riots. The board stated in its announcement that it was upholding the suspension but also criticized Facebook for violating its own rules by not providing Trump with an end date for the suspension as it does for its other users.
The board stated that Facebook cannot “make up the rules as it goes along,” by banning some users for a set amount of time and others indefinitely. The board stated:
The Board has upheld Facebook’s decision on January 7, 2021, to restrict then-President Donald Trump’s access to posting content on his Facebook page and Instagram account.
However, it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension.
Facebook’s normal penalties include removing the violating content, imposing a time-bound period of suspension, or permanently disabling the page and account.
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The Board insists that Facebook review this matter to determine and justify a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform. Facebook must complete its review of this matter within six months of the date of this decision.
The Board also made policy recommendations for Facebook to implement in developing clear, necessary, and proportionate policies that promote public safety and respect freedom of expression.
The suspension of former President Trump was the first time that Facebook had ever blocked a world leader from using its platform. Trump was also banned from Twitter during the week of the Capitol riots. Trump has not yet stated whether he wants to return to either platform.
Twitter CFO Ned Segal commented on the Facebook Oversight Board’s decision and whether it would affect Trump’s account standing on Twitter, stating: “Well, there has been no changes to anything we have shared in the past around the former president’s account. When you step back and think about our policies, we want to work hard to be consistent, to be transparent so people know exactly what to expect from us.”
“We don’t have an oversight board like that. Our team is accountable for the decisions that we make,” Segal added. “There is no changes to anything we have talked about in the past.”
The Facebook Oversight Board is said to be an independent body that rules on Facebook’s decision in an impartial manner. Facebook cannot overrule the board, but does pay the salaries of everyone on the board.
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