Facebook's Trump Suspension Goes to Oversight Board

Outside panel's decision can't be overruled by company
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2021 3:44 PM CST
Facebook Board to Rule on Letting Trump Return
The Facebook logo on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square, in 2018.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Facebook has defended its decision, made after the attack on the US Capitol, to not allow former President Trump on its platforms indefinitely. "We believe our decision was necessary and right," a Facebook blog post said. But the company has sent the issue to its new Oversight Board for a final decision, USA Today reports. "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," an executive said. The suspension applies to Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts; Twitter also has blocked Trump. The board, whose decisions can't be overruled by the company, tweeted that public comments on the case will be accepted starting next week. It has 90 days to announced its ruling. The board was established as independent but takes funding from Facebook.

The Oversight Board's members are an international collection of journalists, scholars, and former lawmakers, per CNBC. It was formed last October, right after a group of outside observers and experts formed their own panel to monitor social media's effects on the election. Facebook was dismissive of the Real Facebook Oversight Board, per USA Today, saying it included "mostly longtime critics" recycling accusations. "Facebook failed for months to take action over Donald Trump's repeated use of its platform to incite violence, spread disinformation and systematic attempts to subvert the election," that group said, adding that Facebook's refusal to act contributed to the attack on the US Capitol. "American democracy survived in spite of Facebook," the statement said. (Read more Facebook stories.)

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