from Wendy Via, GPAHE co-founder and president
Today, the Facebook Oversight Board made the recommendation to temporarily continue Trump’s suspension. They kicked the decision back to Facebook who should have taken responsibility from the beginning.
Who is finally going to make this decision?
Trump is not entitled to the megaphone that Facebook has given him and cannot be trusted to engage with his constituency in reasonable terms and without using vitriolic language and spreading damaging misinformation. His hateful rhetoric has had a devastating impact on public safety and individuals.
The importance of the Oversight Board’s decision goes well beyond Trump -- it is critical to democracies everywhere. Facebook must finally stand up and make the decision to ensure that world leaders and the politically powerful around the globe are not allowed to abuse the power of its largely unregulated platform. We know that savvy far-right politicians across the globe have used Facebook to spread misinformation and build their base of support, ultimately harming people and democracies. Violence linked to far-right political figures’ use of social media is not a matter of opinion.
The Oversight Board is agreeing with GPAHE’s position that Facebook's policies around leaders and the politically powerful are convoluted, lack transparency and should be overhauled. But, at the same time, they're handing the problem back to the people who created it and have allowed it to fester for years.
Trump should not be allowed on Facebook.
Facebook should also accept this as the moment that it no longer disregards its role in spreading hate and undermining democracies. Facebook has a responsibility to its billions of users and to the global citizenry. Much more must be done, beginning with ending newsworthiness and political commentary exceptions, applying all policies globally and to everyone, and enforcing fact-checking standards for political advertising.