Facebook Oversight Board seeks public feedback on Trump ban

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San Francisco, Jan 30 (IANS) The independent Facebook Oversight Board is asking the public to submit their feedback whether the decision by the social network to suspend former US President Donald Trump’s accounts for an indefinite period after the Capitol chaos on January 6 was right.

The two Trump posts in question include the one-minute video he posted to his account on January 6 as rioters were still present in the Capitol and backup law enforcement personnel were en route.

He posted a one-minute video to Facebook and Instagram with the following content: “I know your pain, I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side”.

The second is a written post in which Trump wrote: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”

Facebook removed the video and took down the post. It later banned Trump from its platform and Instagram for 24 hours, and then extended it indefinitely.

Facebook referred its decision to suspend Trump to the Oversight Board last week.

“We believe our decision was necessary and right. Given its significance, we think it is important for the board to review it and reach an independent judgment on whether it should be upheld,” said Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs and communications at Facebook.

Facebook stated in its referral to the Board that the decision to suspend then-President Trump was taken in extraordinary circumstances.

“Facebook believes that it made the correct decision in removing President Trump’s posts on January 6 and later imposing indefinite restrictions on his access to its platforms”.

The Oversight Board said it would welcome public comments on how Facebook should treat the expression of political candidates, office holders, and former office holders, considering their varying positions of power, the importance of political opposition, and the public’s right to information.

The deadline to submit the feedback is February 8.

The independent Oversight Board on Thursday announced to overturn four of Facebooks decisions to remove posts for violating policies on hate speech, violence and other issues.

Facebook said that it will abide by the decisions, the first by the Oversight Board, and has already restored the content in three of the cases.

“We restored the breast cancer awareness post last year, as it did not violate our policies and was removed in error,” Monika Bickert, Vice President, Content Policy at Facebook, said in a statement.

The Oversight Board, a group of 20 journalists, politicians and judges from around the world, was formed last year.