Tuesday, 28 September, 2021

Facebook VP announces Trump is suspended for two years

Facebook To End Special Treatment For Politicians After Trump Ban: Report Facebook to bar politicians from posting deceptive content — report
Adrian Cunningham | 04 June, 2021, 23:35

Trump criticized the decision as a form of censorship and an insult to his voters.

"We are suspending his accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7 this year", the company said in a blog post.

The Board said that the social network should have used its "established account-level penalties" for severe violations instead of an indefinite suspension, which is not included in its content policies.

Facebook said it will heighten penalties for public figures during times of civil unrest and violence. Trump has received the maximum penalty under those rules, "given the gravity of the circumstances" leading to his suspension. "We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest", the post added. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing, and ultimately, we will win. "Our Country can't take this abuse anymore!" "It will be all business!"

Still, Facebook made clear that it's a matter of when - not if - Trump's Facebook access would be restored.

"It's pretty straightforward. Donald Trump incited an insurrection, and the biggest attack on the Capitol in 150 years that left people dead and injured". If those threats still exist, Facebook will extend Trump's suspension for a set period of time.

The company's decision raises more questions than it answers, according to the group, whose name is a mocking reference to the panel of outside legal and human rights experts the company convened to review its most hard content decisions.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Washington DC on October 23, 2019. Other Democratic lawmakers claim the company allows too much misinformation and disinformation to spread across its services without facing any consequences.

"We know today's decision will be criticised by many people on opposing sides of the political divide - but our job is to make a decision in as proportionate, fair and transparent a way as possible, in keeping with the instruction given to us by the Oversight Board".

Politicians have typically been given leeway because Facebook operated on the assumption that their posts were newsworthy and part of the public debate.

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However, Facebook is not eliminating the exemption entirely.

The company is also leaving another controversial policy in place: It will continue to exempt politicians' posts and paid ads from fact-checking.

Facebook and Twitter now have rules that give world leaders, elected officials and political candidates greater latitude than ordinary users.

The policy changes were announced Friday in response to recommendations from Facebook's Oversight Board.

The board's criticisms of Facebook were scathing. As a result, social media companies like Facebook and Twitter began flagging or removing posts that violated their content rules.

Facebook is not required to follow any of the board's policy guidance - unlike the board's directive on Trump's account, which the company said it will regard as mandatory. Trump's account may eventually be reinstated if it is determined that "the risk to public safety has receded". The company will now have one month, six months, one year and two years suspensions for public figures who violate its rules. The group later said it was "encouraged" by Facebook's actions and that it was "now assessing Facebook's response to our recommendations".

The panel also pushed Facebook to put into motion a slew of follow-up actions, including conducting a "comprehensive review of Facebook's potential contribution to the narrative of electoral fraud and the exacerbated tensions that culminated in the violence in the United States on January 6".

Editor's note: Facebook is among NPR's financial supporters.

"The Board believes the steps Facebook has committed to today will contribute to greater clarity, consistency and transparency in the way the company moderates content, and promote public safety, defend human rights and respect freedom of expression".