Will Trump ever be able to get back on Facebook?
The final weeks of the Trump presidency were . . . turbulent, to say the least. Among the crazy whirlwind of events, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms banned or limited the former president from their sites. Now that he’s out of office, will Trump ever be able to get back on Facebook?
Potential changes in policy
On Thursday, the newly implemented Facebook oversight board was called to review their decision to ban Trump for inciting violence and spreading harmful misinformation.
Regarding the decision to ban Trump from Facebook and its photo site Instagram, Mark Zuckerberg explained: “The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden.”
He continued: “His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed the people in the US and around the world. We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect – and likely their intent – would be to provoke further violence.”
Zuckerberg concluded that: “We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue our service during this period are simply too great.”
The Facebook oversight board, which comprises academics, journalists, and policy experts, are currently reviewing Trump’s Facebook case, and explained that a decision as to whether he will be allowed back on the site will be made within the next three months.
The original ban
Facebook originally suspended Trump’s account on January 7th, right after Trump seemingly called for his fans to rally outside of the White House, which turned into a violent insurrection.
Though the move to ban Trump from Facebook was controversial – some of his followers believed that it suppressed his right to free speech – Facebook maintained that these are “extraordinary circumstances” of a “US president actively fomenting a violent insurrection designed to thwart the peaceful transition of power”.
Nick Clegg, the company’s Vice President for global affairs and communications, wrote in a blog post: “This has never happened before – and we hope it will never happen again. It was an unprecedented set of events which called for unprecedented action.”
A tough decision for Facebook
Due to its history of spotty politics, it makes sense that some people are questioning the motive behind Facebook’s recent announcement. A group of Facebook critics called “the Real Facebook Oversight Board,” including journalists, experts, and activists, aired these concerns.
“We are concerned that Facebook is using its oversight board as a figleaf to cover its lack of open, transparent, coherent moderation policies, its continued failure to act against inciters of hate and violence and the tsunami of mis- and disinformation that continues to flood its platform.”
They continued: “This case exposes the dangerous inadequacy of Facebook’s ability to policy itself: it can’t. This underlines the urgent necessity for regulation now.”
Indeed, it’s been noted Mark Zuckerberg’s relationship to Donald Trump has been shady in the past in terms of allowing harmful speech similar to his inciting of violence on the Capitol on Facebook.
Zuckerberg preached free speech in support of this decision, writing on his own Facebook page: “Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, and times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies. We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech.”
Is Facebook doing the right thing by speaking out against hateful & harmful use of their sites? Let us know what you think in the comments!