Facebook’s content decision review body, a quasi-external panel that’s been likened to a ‘Supreme Court of Facebook’ but isn’t staffed by sitting judges, can’t be truly independent of the tech giant which funds it, has no legal legitimacy or democratic accountability, and goes by the much duller official title ‘Oversight Board’ (aka the FOB) — has just made the biggest call of its short life…
Facebook’s hand-picked ‘oversight’ panel has voted against reinstating former U.S. president Donald Trump’s Facebook account.
However it has sought to row the company back from an ‘indefinite’ ban — finding fault with its decision to impose an indefinite restriction, rather than issue a more standard penalty (such as a penalty strike or permanent account closure).
In a press release announcing its decision the board writes:
“Given the seriousness of the violations and the ongoing risk of violence, Facebook was justified in suspending Mr. Trump’s accounts on January 6 and extending that suspension on January 7.
However, it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose an ‘indefinite’ suspension.
It is not permissible for Facebook to keep a user off the platform for an undefined period, with no criteria for when or whether the account will be restored.”
The board wants Facebook to revision its decision on Trump’s account within six months — and “decide the appropriate penalty”. So it appears to have succeeded in… kicking the can down the road.
The FOB is due to hold a press conference to discuss its decision shortly so stay tuned for updates.
This story is developing… refresh for updates…
It’s certainly been a very quiet five months on mainstream social media since Trump had his social media ALL CAPS megaphone unceremoniously shut down in the wake of his supporters’ violent storming of the capital.
For more on the background to Trump’s deplatforming do make time for this excellent explainer by TechCrunch’s Taylor Hatmaker. But the short version is that Trump finally appeared to have torched the last of his social media rule-breaking chances after he succeeded in fomenting an actual insurrection on U.S. soil on January 6. Doing so with the help of the massive, mainstream social media platforms whose community standards don’t, as a rule, give a thumbs up to violent insurrection…