Facebook’s oversight board has voted to uphold Donald Trump’s ban from both Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook was one of many major tech companies that earlier this year moved to indefinitely block Trump’s access to his accounts on their platforms, citing alleged concerns that Trump was guilty of inciting violence. At the time of his initial ban, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that “the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”
However, after significant backlash from world leaders, including Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, the company later referred the case to a newly established oversight board, which reportedly includes lawyers, academics, and activists, to decide whether the ban should be upheld, or whether Trump should be allowed to regain his account.
“Both of those decisions are no-win decisions for Facebook,” said Kate Klonick, an assistant law professor at St. John’s University, who has followed the board’s establishment.
“So, offloading those to a third party, the Oversight Board, is a win for them no matter what.”
A further review of the ban is set to be held in six months, and the verdict, which is binding, is unlikely to be the last of its type, as Facebook has asked the board to provide further advice as to how the company should deal with other political leaders’ online accounts.
However, concerns remain about the ethics of a Big Tech multinational being able to control the communication avenues of an elected political leader, and whether or not this grants private companies too much power.
As the noose of Big Tech censorship tightens around the globe, we have to ask: do we want to be controlled by a small handful of corporations and billionaires? Ben Scallan reacts. #gripthttps://t.co/KTXn5Na6QH pic.twitter.com/QBXYkduyKw
— gript (@griptmedia) January 13, 2021