Los Angeles, CA – The Facebook Oversight Board has decided to uphold Facebook’s decision to suspend Donald Trump’s account.
John Langford, Counsel at Protect Democracy:
Today’s decision affirms what was already clear: Trump’s account was, and should have been, suspended under any reasonable standard. Lesser measures, such as warning labels or post removal, would not have sufficiently prevented the public safety risk posed by Trump on January 6th. Suspension was the only appropriate decision.
The same moderation policies that apply to any Facebook user should apply to Trump’s account. Protect Democracy has called—and continues to call—on Facebook not to apply any “newsworthiness” exception for political leaders’ own posts. The current policy ignores the existential threat to democracy posed by disinformation spread by political leaders, as the events of January 6th make clear.
Today’s decision is a good decision for democracy. But Facebook’s creation of the Oversight Board to assess a fraction of its content moderation decisions cannot and should not divert attention from the fact that its software currently disseminates and amplifies an enormous amount of disinformation harmful to users and to fully-informed democracy. Moreover, as the Oversight Board made clear, Facebook cannot use the Board to “avoid its responsibilities” for spreading disinformation. The mechanisms for this spread are endemic to Facebook’s algorithms, and go beyond the decisions of individual users.
The Oversight Board’s decision is available here in full.
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About Protect Democracy:
Protect Democracy is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing American democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government.