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Facebook Oversight Board slammed over inadequate Trump ban decision

Camille Elemia
Facebook Oversight Board slammed over inadequate Trump ban decision

FACEBOOK. A 3D plastic representation of the Facebook logo is seen in this illustration in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 13, 2015

Dado Ruvic/Reuters

The critics group Real Facebook Oversight Board says the Facebook Oversight Board's decision 'does nothing to root out the deep, systemic content issues' that plague the platform

Critics of Facebook denounced the Facebook Oversight Board’s decision to uphold the ban of former US president Donald Trump from the platform, without addressing the core failures of the tech company.

The critics group called Real Facebook Oversight Board (RFOB) said that despite Trump’s repeated violations of the platform’s terms of service, the Board “still could not summon the courage or common sense to uphold a permanent ban.”

RFOB is composed of civil rights experts, scholars, and journalists, including Rappler CEO Maria Ressa.

Facebook earlier indefinitely blocked Trump’s access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts over concerns of further violent unrest following the US Capitol insurrection in January.

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Facebook Oversight Board upholds ban on Trump

Facebook Oversight Board upholds ban on Trump

While upholding Trump’s ban, the Board asked Facebook to review the matter within 6 months to determine “a proportionate response” consistent with rules applied to other users. It added that indefinite penalties “do not pass the international or American smell test for clarity, consistency, and transparency.”

But RFOB said Trump merits a permanent ban, as he has repeatedly violated Facebook’s policies without facing any consequences. Trump was permanently banned from Twitter, where he has nearly 90 million followers.

“Donald Trump used Facebook to spread disinformation and incite hate and violence for years. Even when he posted ‘When the looting starts, the shooting starts,’ Facebook failed to act. He violated their terms of service again and again and again, facing no consequences,” RFOB said.

“As such we ask: what is the point of the Oversight Board? This is a Facebook-funded, Facebook-appointed body that has no legitimacy to make real decisions. Facebook’s attempt to divert attention from its fundamental failure to take responsibility for what’s on its own platform has itself failed,” RFOB added.

The ultimate problems remain, with RFOB saying Facebook’s failure to control the content and the “overwhelming volume of dangerous content” on the platform are proof of the Board’s inadequacy.

“Facebook is a playground for dictators all over the world who face no consequences for their misuse of the platform. Bolsonaro, Duterte, Modi, Orban, Duda — all continue to use Facebook to repress their citizenry…. This decision does nothing to root out the deep, systemic content issues plaguing Facebook,” RFOB said.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s Vice President of global affairs and communication Nick Clegg said Trump’s accounts remain suspended as the company “considers the board’s decision.” – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com