Facebook has banned Donald Trump for a minimum of two years after the case went through its Oversight Board. Here’s how we got here and what it means.
Facebook has announced that former US President Donald Trump will remain suspended from the platform for a minimum of two years. It has also announced the introduction of new protocols to treat “exceptional cases” of violations of the rules by public figures during times of civil unrest. The decision brings some clarity to the Trump case after it was exchanged between Facebook and its Oversight Board. It also provides an opportunity to look back to see how this point got here and what the implications of Facebook’s decision may be.
Trump was suspended indefinitely by Facebook on January 7 following violence during the Electoral College vote count in the United States Capitol, which Facebook characterized at the time as “a president of the United States actively fomenting a violent insurrection designed to thwart the peaceful transition of power.” The suspension was referred to Facebook’s Oversight Board, which in a fortuitous stroke of time had only just started operations in October 2020. The board issues independent rulings on Facebook’s content decisions and recommendations on how Facebook should proceed with them. , although Facebook is not required to follow them. the recommendations. In May, it announced that it had confirmed Trump’s suspension, but found that a limited period of time should have been given for it, forcing Facebook to make a decision on the matter – something some have suggested the company was perhaps dealing with. to outsource, using the Supervisory Board as a kind of lightning rod.
That decision it was a minimum two-year suspension with the possibility of being extended if a serious risk to public safety persists when the time runs out. It relied on new “reinforced penalties for public figures during times of ongoing civil unrest and violence” that Facebook has developed to help you make similar decisions in the future. These range from one month to two years for serious offenses and can include permanent removal. Additionally, Facebook has made changes to its ‘newsworthy assignment’, which previously assumed that any post by a politician was newsworthy. Now, content posted by politicians will not be evaluated differently from content posted by anyone else and will be removed if it violates the Facebook Community Standards, even if it is deemed newsworthy.
Implications of Trump’s suspension on Facebook
Trump will be suspended until at least January 7, 2023. So, Facebook says so “It will call on experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has decreased.” External factors to consider include instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly, and other indicators of civil unrest. However, it is not clear how Facebook could select the experts it intends to select.
It’s also unclear how Facebook determined the time penalties for public figures in times of civil unrest; he did not provide an explanation in his ad. Some have noted that the two-year maximum is below the 2024 presidential election cycle. Cabling maybe better summed up some caution about this by saying: “The fact that he came up with a maximum two-year suspension seems suspiciously designed to allow Trump to return to the platform just as he is preparing to start running for president again.” However, if Trump were reinstated after two years, Facebook says he will be subject to a “Strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions” which will come into play with other transgressions and could result in permanent deletion of your accounts and pages.
There is much to study in all this and the political perspective will inform the opinion of many people as to whether or not the right decision has been made. Politics aside, however, accountability has been explored, processes have been delayed, Facebook has not been allowed to sidestep a difficult decision, and there are new measures for this and other similar cases in the future. Whisper it quietly, but the Oversight Board may be working.
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