Facebook has upheld the suspension of Donald Trump’s social media accounts following a series of posts that is believed to have incited violence.
Mr Trump is outraged at Facebook’s Operating Board’s decision to ban him from the social media platform momentarily. Facebook stated that they will “reassess” the ban within the next six months
However, the board criticised Facebook’s decision to impose ‘indefinite’ suspension as the company seeks to avoid taking responsibility.
In a conference call, oversight board co-chair Michael McConnell said “indefinite penalties of this sort do not pass the international small test.”
Mr Trump released a statement accusing social media companies for violating his freedom of speech: “What Facebook, Twitter, and Google have done is a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our Country,” he said.
He has even called for political action against social media platforms who seek “to destroy and decimate [the] Electoral Process”
Facebook Vice-President of Global Affairs and Communication, Nick Clegg said that the company will consider the board’s recommendation to review the indefinite ban and replace it with a more “clear and proportionate” action.
Mr Trump’s social media accounts were indefinitely suspended from January 6, 2021 due to several posts that were seen to have supported and defended those that engaged in violent activity at the US Capitol insurrection.
This is the first time Facebook has put a ban on a national leader and is a warning to other world-leaders who may breach platform policies.
Facebook chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said “the risks of allowing the President to continue to use [the] service during this period was simply too great.”
Donald Trump said in one tweet that the rioters are “very special.”
In a second tweet Trump called them “great patriots” who should “remember this day forever.”
The company referred the case to its recently established board that comprises academics, lawyers and rights activists to decide whether to uphold the ban or restore Mr Trump’s accounts.
The binding verdict marks a major decision for the board, which rules on a small slice of challenging content decisions and which Facebook created as an independent body. It was established in response to worldwide criticism over how they handle problematic material posted on their platforms.
Keywords: Donald Trump, Facebook, Social Media, Mark Zuckerberg
Edited by Tracy Chenh, Kathryn Zhang, Nalin Mastou, Chuxin Liang & Rachael Darling