Former U.S President Donald Trump dismissed a decision by social media giant Facebook, upholding his suspension from the social media platform. In a statement, Trump said the decision was against the right to free speech.
“What Facebook, Twitter, and Google have done is a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our Country. Free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth, but the truth will come out anyway, bigger and stronger than ever before. The People of our Country will not stand for it! These corrupt social media companies must pay a political price, and must never again be allowed to destroy and decimate our Electoral Process,” said Trump.
Facebook’s Oversight Board on Wednesday upheld Trump’s ban from Facebook and Instagram. The board ordered Facebook to review the ban and “justify a proportionate response” that is applied to everyone, including ordinary users within 6 months. It however criticized the permanent nature of the ban as beyond the scope of Facebook’s normal penalties.
Facebook banned Trump from both sites in January 2021 following the Capitol Hill riots where hundreds of his supporters entered the complex as the U.S Congress attempted to certify Joe Biden’s victory in last year’s presidential election. Trump was however later acquitted of a charge of inciting insurrection at the U.S Capitol in his second impeachment trial in February, after being accused of encouraging the violence in which five people lost their lives.
But according to Facebook’s Oversight Board, the initial decision to permanently suspend Trump was “indeterminate and standard less”, and that the correct response should be “consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform”.
Speaking at a press conference, the Oversight Board’s Co-Chair Helle Thorning-Schmidt admitted: “We did not have an easy answer.” She added that she felt Facebook would “appreciate the decision”. “We are telling Facebook to go back and be more transparent about how it assesses these things. Treat all users the same and don’t give arbitrary penalties.”, she said.
The board also made a number of recommendations about how Facebook should improve its policies and the social network promised to “carefully review” these.
In response, Facebook said it would “consider the board’s decision and determine an action that is clear and proportionate”.
The social network had originally imposed a 24-hour ban after the attack which was then extended “indefinitely”. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the risks of allowing Trump to post were “simply too great”.
In the meantime, Trump, who is also banned from Twitter, launched a new blog on his website dubbed “From the Desk of Donald J Trump” and contains posts from Trump that can be shared and liked. Twitter permanently banned Trump on January 8, 2021.