Facebook Inc. had issued a ban on former US President Donald Trump a while ago, and now the Oversight Board associated with the social media platform has upheld the move, deciding to continue on with the ban on the political leader. Experts says that this move might be an indication of how the company will be treating world leaders who fail to adhere to the rules and guidelines, in the future.
Under the ban, former POTUS Donald Trump was indefinitely suspended from accessing his accounts on Facebook and subsidiary platform Instagram, after the US was in a state of chaos and unrest, following the violent attacks on the Capitol on January 6th. It was speculated that the riot was staged primarily by Trump’s supporters. Back then, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had cited the reason for suspending Trump’s (who was still in Office when the protests took place) accounts, saying, “The risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”
Following some skeptic remarks from the public, the company decided to pass the matter on to its Oversight Board (which was established fairly recently), and left the decision up to them. And now, the Board, which is comprised of eminent personalities from the field of academics, rights activism, and law, has sided with Facebook’s decision.
Speaking on the issue, St. John’s University Assistant Professor Kate Klonick, who has been credited with encouraging the social media platform to constitute the Oversight Board, said, “Both of those decisions are no-win decisions for Facebook. So, offloading those to a third party, the Oversight Board, is a win for them no matter what.”
The Board has so far only contributed to taking a small fraction of all the decisions taken at Facebook, especially those that are challenging and confusing to make. This means that the Trump ban issue is one of its biggest highlight ever since its constitution as an independent body that was meant to be a response to the criticism faced by the company over its handling of tricky issues. The Board will also be providing recommendations to the platform on how to manage the accounts of political and social leaders, especially those who stray away from the guidelines.
While Facebook Inc. has often been accused of being partial in favour of certain political parties and leaders, its ban on Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts was met with widespread criticism from users who saw the move as a “worrying act of censorship.” Nevertheless, these two platforms are not the only ones from where Trump has been banned, with contemporary Twitter also imposing a permanent ban on his account.
The reason for the violence that led to Trump being banned can in part be attributed to Trump himself, who, having been banned from many social media sites, has taken to press releases to continue misinformation about the US Senate Elections, and current President Joe Biden’s eventual victory. On Monday, he said through a press release, “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!” That’s not all, as on Tuesday he proceeded to launch a new web page, where messages can be shared for readers, who can then post them onto social media sites. A few days ago, one of his senior advisors had also claimed that Trump was looking to launch his own social media platform.