Facebook Oversight Committee announces decision on Trump ban

Facebook’s oversight committee will announce on Wednesday whether to allow Donald Trump to return to the platform. This decision will have a major impact on the political future of the former president and the Republican Party.

The social media platform suspended Trump’s account indefinitely four months ago for fear of further violence and turmoil after the 45th presidential supporters rioted in the Capitol on January 6.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: “We believe that the risk of allowing the president to continue to use our services during this period is too great.” then.

In late January, Facebook ask Its supervisory committee-the Supreme Court-like body appointed for the first time in 2020-listened to users’ appeals for its content review decision-review bans, and provided more general recommendations on how the platform should handle violating content from world leaders.

This landmark decision is binding and is expected to be issued around 9 a.m. EDT on Wednesday.

The conclusion of the board of directors will determine whether Trump, once a user obsessed with social media, has more than 35 million followers on Facebook and 24 million followers on Instagram, can regain a strong channel. Inspire its supporters and raise funds. The former president does not rule out running for the White House again in 2024.

This is by far the biggest test of the 20-member Facebook Supervisory Committee, which is composed of scholars, civil rights organizations, and experts in various political fields. The committee is funded by Facebook, but is otherwise independent of the company. When the two parties support stricter supervision of American big technology, the committee will have the final decision on the appropriate decision.

Any ruling may cause disagreements. Civil rights organizations urged Facebook to permanently ban the former president, believing that social media platforms have changed their rules to accommodate him and appease Republicans. Others have argued that Facebook’s treatment of Trump is equivalent to censorship and a dangerous containment of freedom of speech, and illustrates the clumsy power that the company has accumulated.

In January, Facebook competitor Twitter permanently banned Trump.Google’s YouTube has suspended the former president from the video platform, but CEO Susan Wojcicki said it will Unfreeze Once the “risk of violence is reduced”.

Since leaving the White House in late January and rejecting Joe Biden’s inauguration, the former president has maintained a relatively low-key stance. He rarely showed up and participated in very few interviews, mainly on Fox News.

He continued to repeat some unsubstantiated claims about election fraud, which contributed to his ban. He issued a few statements only on Monday through his “Save America” ​​Political Action Committee, including: “From today, the fraudulent presidential election in 2020 will be called a “big lie!” “. Trump also touted the possibility that he might create his own social network.

Facebook’s supervisory committee: who they are and what they do

What is a supervisory committee?

The purpose of creating the Facebook Oversight Committee is to “review a selected number of highly symbolic” content review decisions and determine whether these decisions are “made in accordance with the values ​​and policies prescribed by Facebook.” It was funded by a US$130 million trust fund established by Facebook and launched last year.

Users can appeal to the board of directors, asking not to delete content, or asking for review of content that they believe has been wrongly allowed to remain on the platform. Facebook can also recommend cases-this is what happened in the Trump case.

The board of directors can also provide Facebook with broad policy recommendations, although the social media company is not obliged to follow these recommendations.

Who are they?

The committee is composed of 20 academics, human rights and freedom of speech experts, and journalists who were selected by Facebook but operated independently. Members include Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Avant-Garde newspaper, Nobel Prize winner Tawakkol Karman and former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt (Helle Thorning- Schmidt).

The anonymous selection of board members is to make a preliminary decision on the case, and most boards must agree to this decision.

What decision will they make on Wednesday?

The board of directors will announce whether it will support Trump’s suspension. When Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines were censored for their use of social media, some people were also asked to make suggestions to resolve the suspension of world leaders in general.

The board’s charter allows for a conclusion on the case within 90 days, and Facebook has another week to take action. The decision on the Trump case was postponed after the board of directors received about 9,000 replies in response to the request for comments. Trump also submitted a “user statement” to the board of directors, detailing the reasons why he believes this decision should be overturned.

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