Earlier this year the world breathed a sigh of relief after Trump was banned from numerous social media platforms, beginning with Twitter, followed by Facebook and YouTube.
The last straw resulted from Trump’s consistent violent language which eventually helped steer action towards the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
On Wednesday Facebook’s 20-member Oversight Board ruled that the social networking app was justified in indefinitely banning the former president, but would need to put parameters on how long the ban would take place, according to The Washington Post. In six months Facebook will be required to complete a review on the length of suspension.
“Given the seriousness of the violations and the ongoing risk of violence, Facebook was justified in suspending Mr. Trump’s accounts on January 6 and extending that suspension on January 7,” the board said in its decision.
The board also noted that Trump “created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible” by encouraging people who disagreed with the electoral process to take action. Leaders also signaled that Facebook took action outside of its normal parameters in terms of how global leaders or leaders in power are reprimanded on the social network. The network exempts political figures from some hate speech rules on the grounds that the comments could be considered newsworthy.
Historically in these situations, Facebook has removed posts, specified the amount of time towards a suspension or has permenately disabled an account altogether.
But several civil rights leaders argue that Facebook should take a definitive stance around Trump having access to a communication tool that he has used to promote violence and chaos. Leaders argued that Facebook’s decision could also set precedence for other platforms Trump is currently banned from using.
“If Trump is allowed back on the platform, he will once again have access to his bully pulpit to stoke the flames of white nationalism and incite violence against Black communities and our allies,” Color of Change President Rashad Robinson said in a statement sent to NewsOne. “Tech behemoths like Facebook cannot be trusted to self-regulate. Facebook has failed in this regard numerous times and will continue enabling white nationalists to use the platform to organize, spread lies and wage violence against Black people until the business model no longer incentivizes hate for profit. This decision is yet another demonstration of the urgent need for Congress and the Biden-Harris administration to create new rules of the road to reign in Facebook’s stronghold on our democracy. Color Of Change will continue to leverage our millions of members to hold Facebook accountable and demand they permanently ban Trump from the platform.”
“Crucially, the decision doesn’t solve any of the fundamental problems with Facebook’s disastrous handling of hateful and violent speech on their platform,” Amnesty International said. “The Oversight Board’s decisions only apply to specific cases – and while it can offer recommendations, it lacks the power to change Facebook’s overall approach to such content, particularly its inconsistent application of its Terms of Service globally.”
“In their decision today, the Facebook Oversight Board made many of the same errors that Facebook makes in its own enforcement decisions,” said David Brody, who leads the Digital Justice Initiative at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “It did not evaluate the full context of the case and it used legal technicalities to avoid answering hard questions. For example, it failed to address Trump’s repeated use of Facebook to inflame hate and racism, or his long history of spreading divisive lies and disinformation prior to the 2020 election. Over-reliance on formalist schools of legal analysis entrenches dominant power structures by turning a blind eye to the big picture.”
Other civil rights groups believed the decision was a step in the right direction.
“We are encouraged by the decision of the Oversight Board to temporarily uphold the platform’s previous suspension,” the NAACP Legal Defense Fund said in a statement. “We also believe that the evidence supports the permanent ban of Mr. Trump. He has demonstrated that he is unwilling and unable to use the platform consistent with Facebook’s Community Standards. Just a few days ago, Mr. Trump reiterated the same false claims about the 2020 presidential election that incited the January 6 insurrection. We hope that after the reexamination called for by the Oversight Board, Facebook will continue its permanent ban of Mr. Trump.”
Since Trump was void of his preferred tool, he released a statement to the press condemning the board’s decision.
“Free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth, but the truth will come out anyway, bigger and stronger than ever before,” Trump’s statement reads. ”The People of our Country will not stand for it! These corrupt social media companies must pay a political price, and must never again be allowed to destroy and decimate our Electoral Process.”
Civil Rights Leaders React: Facebook Upholds Trump Ban, But Leaves Door Open For His Return was originally published on newsone.com
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