Facebook’s Independent Board Upholds Trump’s Suspension

Facebook’s Independent Board Upholds Trump’s Suspension

     Former President Donald Trump will not be returning to Facebook. In fact, he is still “indefinitely suspended,” after the social network’s quasi-independent Oversight Board voted this morning to uphold Trump’s ban from the platform after he incited supporters to riot on Jan. 6 at the US Capitol, where five people died and as many as 60 police officers were injured.

     Facebook created its Oversight Board to help the social media giant consider the often thorny decisions that relate to freedom of expression online: or as the board's website puts it, “what to take down, what to leave up and why.”

     However, critics of Facebook’s Oversight Board say that a semi-independent body of experts should not be making decisions that regulate free speech online.

     The Oversight Board is “frustrating and a bit of a sideshow from the larger policy and social questions that we have about these companies,” said Gautam Hans, a technology law and free speech expert and professor at Vanderbilt University. “To some degree, Facebook is trying to create an accountability mechanism that I think undermines efforts to have government regulation and legislation.

      “If any other company decided, well, we’re just going to outsource our decision-making to some quasi-independent body, that would be thought of as ridiculous.”

      After not just Facebook, but Instagram and Twitter also banned former President Trump in January, but Apple, Google, and Amazon Web Servic Parler also dropped their support for Parler, a conservative social media platform, Trump’s aides have “leaked” news that the former president has plans to launch his own social media platform.

      In addition to continuing to do interviews with friendly news outlets and emailing statements to reporters, yesterday, Trump unveiled on his personal website a new blog, his spokesman Jason Miller said was separate from the former president’s plans to start his own social media site.

      The blog, called, “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” says that it is A PLACE TO SPEAK FREELY AND SAFELY,” and the page includes a video that says, “A BEACON OF FREEDOM ARISES.” On the page, viewers can read  many of Trump’s recent statements.

      “President Trump’s website is a great resource to find his latest statements and highlights from his first term in office, but this is not a new social media platform,” Miller tweeted. “We’ll have additional information coming on that front in the very near future.”

(Photo by: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

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