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A decision on Trump’s suspended Facebook account this week

Former President Donald Trump will find out this week if he will return to Facebook

Former President Donald Trump will find out this week whether he will return to Facebook in a decision that is likely to arouse strong feelings, no matter where he goes.

The Supervisory Board, which is almost independent of the social network, says it will announce its decision on Wednesday on a case related to the former president.

Trump’s account was suspended for inciting the violence that led to deadly Capitol riots on January 6. After years of treating Trump’s fiery rhetoric with a light touch, Facebook and Instagram silenced his accounts on January 7, saying at the time that he would be suspended “at least” until the end of his presidency.

Although Trump frequently posted on Facebook – and his campaign was especially adept at using social media’s advertising tools to reach potential voters – his platform of choice has always been Twitter. But Twitter banned him permanently, without a supervisory board to make the final decision.

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While not always as important as Twitter, Trump’s posts on Facebook have been widely shared, as have those of his conservative supporters like Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino, who continue to garner millions of views and comments. Meanwhile, on Twitter, Fox News host Tucker Carlson appears to be taking on the role of conservative chief provocateur in the vacuum left by Trump.

“If they reinstate it, Facebook will claim that it proves the independence of the Council. If they don’t, Facebook will say that its decision to exclude Trump was justified. Dude they win, crown we lose. Journalists should know better than to take this facade seriously, ”said Laurence Tribe, a professor at Harvard Law School and a member of the Real Facebook Oversight Board, a critical Facebook group and its panel.

Facebook created the oversight panel to decide on thorny content on its platforms in response to widespread criticism of its inability to respond quickly and effectively to misinformation, hate speech and nefarious influence campaigns. His decisions so far have weighed on the side of freedom of expression rather than restricting content.

In its first decisions, the panel overturned four of the social network’s five decisions to remove questionable content. She ordered Facebook to restore posts from users who, according to the company, broke the standards of adult nudity, hate speech or dangerous individuals.

This included a Burmese-language Facebook post by a Myanmar user about Muslims that included two widely shared photos of a dead Syrian child. It was offensive, but it didn’t reach the level of hate speech, he decided.

But none of the decisions are as serious as this week’s decision on Trump. The council was due to announce its decision last month, but that was postponed, he said, because it needed to process more than 9,000 public comments.

The 20 board members, who will eventually grow to 40, include a former Prime Minister of Denmark, the former editor-in-chief of the Guardian newspaper, as well as lawyers, human rights experts and journalists.

The first four board members were chosen directly by Facebook. These four worked with Facebook to select additional members. Facebook pays each board member a salary.

The board’s independence has been questioned by critics who say it is a Facebook public relations campaign aimed at diverting attention from the deeper problems of hatred and misinformation that still flourish on its platforms.

“The Oversight Board was designed to distract journalists and policymakers from the huge damage that is being done every day by Facebook,” said Roger McNamee, one of Facebook’s first investors. “To see the council as legitimate, one must accept that a group structured to review a handful of cases a year is sufficient to oversee a platform that is undermining democracy worldwide, amplifying denial in a pandemic, supposedly being involved pricing in digital advertising, amplifies hate speech and shares tens of millions of harmful messages every day. “

Facebook regularly removes thousands of posts and accounts, and about 150,000 of those cases have appealed to the supervisory board since its launch in October 2020. The board said it is prioritizing reviewing cases that have the potential to affect users across the world. world .

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