Facebook Oversight Board Rules Trump’s’Unfounded Narrative of Electoral Fraud’ Justified First Amendment, However Rebukes’Indefinite’ Ban

The Facebook Oversight Board on Wednesday declared the decision to suspend Donald Trump from getting the platform, justification the former president articles netted his supporters after the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 violated Facebook’s public norms and guidelines at a”acute” manner. The Board’s long awaited choice, however, also rebuked Facebook for failing to stick to a standardized set of principles and processes at imposing an”random” and”indefinite” suspension, and directing the company to levy a”necessary and proportionate” punishment in six months.
The Oversight Board, sometimes referred to as”Facebook’s Supreme Court,” was created and is funded by the company to serve as a neutral third-party arbiter of their platform’s conclusions regarding the moderation of material. Its stated purpose is to”promote free expression by creating principled, independent conclusions” about what is and is not permissible on the website. Its decisions are binding and has to be implemented provided the action is not illegal.
Facebook on Jan. 7 has been the first major social networking website to suspend Trump because of his part in inciting and exacerbating the Capitol siege. According to the Board, that initial decision was justified, specifically citing to two posts which explicitly praised those who tried to prevent Congress from certifying the Electoral College votes.
At the very first, Trump published a video where he talked directly to his supporters, the majority of whom supported him and his fictitious election fraud claims, telling them how the election was”stolen in us” and stating,”we love you” and”you are very particular.”
In the next post, Trump wrote,”All these are the things and events which happen when a sacred landslide election success is indeed unceremoniously viciously stripped off from great patriots who’ve been badly unfairly treated for so long.”
RELATED:”The Only Dumbest’Legal Carry’ of Time’:” Charlie Kirk Calls for Supreme Court to Get Trump Back on Facebook
Both posts were quickly removed. The next day, the former president, that had over 35 million followerswas suspended by the website”indefinitely and for the next two months” before the case has been formally called the Board for review.
“The Board found that, in keeping an unfounded story of electoral fraud and continuous calls for action, Mr. Trump made an environment in which a serious threat of violence has been possible. At the time of Mr. Trump’s posts, there was a definite, immediate threat of harm as well as his words of support for those involved with the riots legitimized their abusive actions,” the decision said.
“The user praised and supported individuals involved in an ongoing riot where people perished, lawmakers were put at severe risk of harm, and a key democratic process was disrupted. Moreover, at that time when these restrictions were extended over January 7, the problem was fluid and severe security concerns stayed. Given the circumstances, limiting Mr. Trump’s access to Facebook and Instagram past January 7 and 6 struck an appropriate balance in light of their continuing threat of violence and disruption.”
However, the Board also noted that Facebook’s choice to execute an indefinite suspension was”not proper” without also providing criteria regarding the account’s reactivation.
“Facebook did not stick to a clear published procedure in this situation. Facebook’s ordinary account-level penalties for violations of its principles are to impose a time-limited suspension or to permanently disable the user’s account,” the decision said. “The Board finds it is not permissible for Facebook to maintain a person off the platform for an undefined period, with no criteria for when or whether the account is going to be restored”
The business must reexamine Trump’s suspension and, in six months, decide on an appropriate penalty based on”the gravity of the violation and the possibility of future harm.”
[picture via ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS_AFP via Getty Images]
Have a suggestion we need to know? [email protected]