Facebook’s Oversight Board decided on Wednesday to uphold the social media site’s ban on former President Donald Trump’s account. However, the Board has also ordered a new review be completed of the “indefinite suspension,” which is supposed to take place within six months.
This sort of, kind of, leaves the door open a little bit for a possible return for Trump to the platform. I wouldn’t hold my breath though.
Trump himself was not at all pleased with the decision, calling it a “total disgrace.”
“What Facebook, Twitter, and Google have done is a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our Country,” the former president said in a statement. “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.”
“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,” he added.
The determination by the Board also applies to social app Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
“The Board has upheld Facebook’s decision on January 7, 2021, to restrict then-President Donald Trump’s access to posting content on his Facebook page and Instagram account,” the Board went on to say.
“However, it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension. Facebook’s normal penalties include removing the violating content, imposing a time-bound period of suspension, or permanently disabling the page and account,” the Board added.
“The Board insists that Facebook review this matter to determine and justify a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform. Facebook must complete its review of this matter within six months of the date of this decision. The Board also made policy recommendations for Facebook to implement in developing clear, necessary, and proportionate policies that promote public safety and respect freedom of expression,” the Board’s statement continued.
The Board’s lengthy statement was not signed by any individual members. The Trump decision was prepared by an anonymous five-member panel and “approved by a majority of the Board,” Facebook said.
“Facebook is more interested in acting like a Democrat Super PAC than a platform for free speech and open debate,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tweeted on Wednesday. “If they can ban President Trump, all conservative voices could be next. A House Republican majority will rein in big tech power over our speech.”
The leading social media sites suspended Trump’s accounts — each of which attracted legions of followers and detractors eager to amplify or castigate the 45th president’s every pronouncement — soon after the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol breach.
Given the fact that modern day social media is the public square of the modern age, it’s important to note that the way these companies operate goes far outside of the purview of a normal company. This is why so many people feel there is grounds for holding them accountable for First Amendment violations.
We’ll just have to wait and see how this situation is handled.