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Facebook may continue to block Trump

Facebook defines the suspension of Trump’s account 3:27

(CNN) – Facebook may continue to block former President Donald Trump from using its platform, the social network’s Oversight Board said Wednesday. The landmark ruling supports the company’s decision to suspend Trump in January after the riots in the US Capitol. However, the board said Facebook must review the decision within six months.

The decision also applies to Facebook-owned Instagram, where Trump has an account. Trump has nearly 60 million followers on Facebook and Instagram.

The announcement by the Oversight Board, a quasi-judicial body created by Facebook to verify its content moderation practices, is a major blow to Trump.

Why did Facebook suspend Trump’s account?

Trump was suspended “indefinitely” from Facebook and Instagram on January 7, a day after his supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Twitter and YouTube took similar action, citing an ongoing risk. of violence and incitement.

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“We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue using our service during this period are simply too great,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote at the time.

Later that month, Facebook asked the Oversight Board for a decision on whether to maintain Trump’s suspension, saying the importance of the matter warranted its independent review.

Amid increasing scrutiny of tech platforms around the world and growing threats from government regulation, the case involving Trump’s account quickly became much more than a single user page.

The deliberations marked the Board’s greatest challenge since its launch last fall. Civics experts said the case would be an important test of the independence of Facebook’s board and its effectiveness in its intended work: acting as a kind of Supreme Court for content removal that would create binding precedents for Facebook to do so. follow.

How does the Facebook Oversight Board work?

Although funded by Facebook, the Oversight Board is designed to operate autonomously from the company. In reviewing Facebook’s content decisions, the Board draws its voting members from fields ranging from international and human rights law to journalism and digital rights advocacy. But critics of the group have argued that it is little more than a fig leaf intended to give the appearance of legitimacy and accountability.

The decision to exclude Trump from Facebook, if made permanent, could have vast implications, wrote Evelyn Douek, a researcher on online speech and platform moderation at Harvard Law School.

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“There is no greater question in content moderation at this time than whether Trump’s removal of platforms represents the beginning of a new era in the way companies control their platforms, or whether it will be simply an aberration,” Douek wrote in January. “What one platform does can have repercussions on the Internet, as other platforms write in the wake of the pioneers and fall like dominoes by banning the same accounts or content. For all these reasons, the board’s decision on Trump’s case could affect more than one. Facebook page.”

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