Legal News

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

The Facebook Oversight Board on Wednesday upheld the decision to suspend Donald Trump from accessing the platform, reasoning that the former president articles netted his assistants after the temptations of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 breached Facebook’s community norms and guidelines at a”severe” way. The Board’s long awaited decision, however, also rebuked Facebook for failing to adhere to a standardized set of principles and processes at imposing an”arbitrary” and”indefinite” suspension, directing the company to levy a”necessary and proportionate” punishment within six weeks.
The Oversight Board, sometimes referred to as”Facebook’s Supreme Court,” was created and is financed by the company to act as a unbiased third party arbiter of the platform’s conclusions regarding the moderation of content. Its stated goal is to”promote free expression by making principled, independent conclusions” about what is and is not permissible on the site. Its decisions are binding and has to be executed provided the action is not illegal.
Facebook on Jan. 7 was the first major social media social media site to suspend Trump because of his part in inciting and exacerbating the Capitol siege. As stated by the Board, that initial decision was justified, specifically citing to two articles that explicitly commended those who attempted to prevent Congress from restarting the electoral college votes.
At the first, Trump posted a movie where he talked straight to the rioters, many of whom supported him along with his false election fraud claims, telling them how that the election was”stolen in us,” and saying,”we love you” and”you are very special.”
The next article, Trump wrote,”All these are the things and events that occur after a sacred landslide election success will be so unceremoniously brutally stripped away from good patriots who have been badly unfairly handled for such a long time.”
Both articles were quickly removed, and the next day that the former president, that had over 35 million followerswas suspended by the site”indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks” before the case was formally called the Board for inspection.
“The Board found that, in keeping an unfounded story of electoral fraud and consistent calls for action, Mr. Trump established an environment in which a severe risk of violence was possible. At the time of Mr. Trump’s articles, there was a very clear, immediate risk of injury and his words of support for all those involved in the riots legitimized their abusive actions,” the decision stated.
“The consumer commended and supported individuals involved in an ongoing riot where people perished, lawmakers were set at serious risk of injury, and also a key democratic process was disrupted. Additionally, in that time when these limitations were extended on January 7, the situation was fluid and also serious security concerns remained. Given the conditions, limiting Mr. Trump’s accessibility to Facebook and Instagram ago January 6 and 7 struck an appropriate balance in light of the ongoing risk of disruption and violence.”
However, the Board also noted that Facebook’s decision to execute an indefinite suspension was”not proper” with providing criteria regarding the account reactivation.
“Facebook didn’t adhere to a clear published process in this instance. Facebook’s ordinary account-level penalties for violations of its principles are to impose a time-limited suspension or to permanently disable the consumer’s account,” the decision stated. “The Board finds that it is not enough for Facebook to keep a user off the platform to get an undefined period, without the criteria for if or whether the account will be restored”
The company is required to reexamine Trump’s suspension and, within six months, choose an appropriate penalty according to”the gravity of this violation and the prospect of future injury.”
[picture via ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS_AFP through Getty Images]
Have a tip we need to know?