Trump, then president of the United States, was initially suspended for 24 hours and then “ indefinitely ” from the platforms on January 7, which he had used for weeks on his unproven claim that not Joe Biden but he had the presidential election in November. won. After the storming of the Capitol in Washington on January 6 by his supporters and Trump’s words of praise, Facebook decided to ban him.
That was right, says the Oversight Board, a supervisory board that examines decisions made by Facebook. Trump will therefore not be getting his accounts back for the time being. For now, because the council believes that Facebook has taken the decision to suspend Trump ‘indefinitely’ too lightly. According to the platform’s own house rules, that penalty does not exist at all. Text, photos, or videos will be removed if they violate those rules, and pages or accounts may be closed temporarily or permanently. As far as we know, there is only one user who has been blocked indefinitely, and that is Trump.
Facebook will be given six months by the council to reconsider the decision and come up with an appropriate punishment. That’s basically, board members said in an explanatory statement, to treat Trump like all those other billions of Facebook users.
The Oversight Board is a council funded by Facebook, but otherwise functions as a ‘supreme court’. Users and Facebook itself can submit decisions to a group of 20 independent experts, including Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman, and former Prime Minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who is vice-president.
The decisions of the council carry considerable weight, because in fact it decides what can and cannot be done on the largest social network in the world. Critics consider that impossible, given the limited size of the council and the sometimes very specific regional context of an issue. In April, the council decided that the exclusion of images of Zwarte Piet from the platform is justified.
It is interesting that the Oversight Board is now returning the ball to Facebook and explicitly criticizing the platform’s decision. In a telephone explanation, Thorning-Schmidt said that Facebook should not have left the Trump decision to the council, because it invented a new measure back in January while it went into effect: indefinitely suspending one of the most powerful political leaders. in the world. So first Facebook imposes a vague penalty without proper explanation, and then passes judgment on it. Facebook thus avoids its responsibility, according to the council itself.
The Oversight Board makes a series of recommendations for clear and transparent policies in case a prominent politician uses the platform in a way that is against the rules. For that, and to decide whether Trump’s ban will end anyway or whether he is permanently unwelcome, Facebook will be given six months. And then, said Vice-President Michael McConnell, it is not inconceivable that the council will also be presented with that decision.
Trump is furious at Facebook’s Supervisory Board decision. “Corrupt social media will have to pay a political price,” Trump said, speaking of a “total disgrace.” Trump started his own ‘social platform’ on Tuesday, after frequently announcing this. A section has been added to his website where the former president posts short texts, approximately the length of a tweet. Visitors can then share these contributions on their own account – a weblog in fact. It doesn’t seem like a real platform, and Trump is the only user.
Podcast: Facebook’s judges decide what you see
Recently, Facebook has the Oversight Board, a kind of group of chief justices who decide on the suspension of Donald Trump, Zwarte Piet and other such issues. But who are in it? And how do they work? Tech editor Pieter Sabel and professor and Waag director Marleen Stikker on perhaps the most powerful judges ever appointed, Facebook’s Oversight Board, in Meanwhile in the cosmos, the podcast of the science editorial staff of de Volkskrant.