Is the Facebook oversight board’s Trump decision ‘disgraceful’ or ‘necessary’? The Internet weighs in.
Facebook’s independent oversight board on Wednesday decided to continue the social network’s suspension of former President Donald Trump over comments he made stoking the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The board said that Facebook had no policy allowing for an indefinite suspension, and it recommended that the company should decide within six months how and when to reinstate Trump.
The decision to avoid an ultimate decision set off a firestorm of comments and critiques across the Internet. While Trump remains banned from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other mainstream social media sites, he released a statement attacking the decision and repeating his false claim that the 2020 election was stolen. “These corrupt social media companies must pay a political price, and must never again be allowed to destroy and decimate our Electoral Process,” Trump wrote.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz called the decision “disgraceful,” adding in a tweet: “For every liberal celebrating Trump’s social media ban, if the Big Tech oligarchs can muzzle the former President, what’s to stop them from silencing you?”
At the other end of the political spectrum, Rep. Pramila Jayapal praised the decision to continue Trump’s suspension. “Good. Appropriate. Necessary,” she tweeted. “He used the site to foment an insurrection, and he is still perpetuating the Big Lie.”
In Silicon Valley, investor Jason Calacanis says the decision not to make a final decision could anger Facebook’s leadership, which set up the board exactly for these kinds of situations. “No way Facebook thought the oversight board would continue the Trump ban—would be surprised if Zuck ‘rethinks’ the board and defunds or disbands them in a couple of years,” he tweeted.
Juliette Kayyem, a Harvard professor and former Obama administration homeland security official, found the decision confusing. “In sum: The Facebook Board’s decision is to not undecide Facebook’s previous decision about Trump but punt any real decision or guidance so Facebook might have six more months to make a ‘proportionate’ decision about Trump’s extremism,” she tweeted.
Journalist Kara Swisher agreed the issue of Trump’s suspension was not settled by the board’s ruling. “As I said never been happier to be wrong but what seems to have happened here is that the Facebook Oversight board punted back what had been punted to them by Facebook with Donald Trump as the irritating football of bile. This is far from over on my reading,” she tweeted.
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