Facebook To Announce Whether Washed-Up Ex-President Can Come Back And Incite More Riots
This morning, Facebook announced that its Oversight Board had made a final decision in the case of whether or not Donald Trump should be let back on the site, and would announce that decision on Wednesday, May 5 at 9 a.m.
Coincidentally, this would also be the five year anniversary of the Trump Tower taco bowl.
Trump was kicked off the site January 7, following the Capitol riots, on the grounds that his rhetoric was inciting people to violence and that things could get exponentially worse were he allowed to continue spreading misinformation through social media. The risks, they claimed, were "simply too great."
We believe the risks of allowing President Trump to continue to use our service during this period are simply too g… https://t.co/6M5DNZ6DiP— Facebook Newsroom (@Facebook Newsroom)1610035261.0
And the thing is, it actually worked. In the two weeks following Trump's ban, misinformation about the 2020 election being spread on social media dropped by 73 percent.
The block was placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts "indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete." A few days later, the site banned all "Stop the Steal" content in general.
Trump's case was referred to the board on January 21.
Today, Facebook is referring its decision to indefinitely suspend former US President Donald Trump's access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts to the independent Oversight Board. The board was established last year to make the final call on some of the most difficult content decisions Facebook makes. It is an independent body and its decisions are binding — they can't be overruled by CEO Mark Zuckerberg or anyone else at Facebook. The board itself is made up of experts and civic leaders from around the world with a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives.
We believe our decision was necessary and right. Given its significance, we think it is important for the board to review it and reach an independent judgment on whether it should be upheld. While we await the board's decision, Mr. Trump's access will remain suspended indefinitely. We look forward to receiving the board's decision — and we hope, given the clear justification for our actions on January 7, that it will uphold the choices we made. In addition to the board's determination on whether to uphold or overturn the indefinite suspension, Facebook welcomes any observations or recommendations from the board around suspensions when the user is a political leader.
While funded through a trust created by Facebook, the Oversight Board is supposedly an entirely independent review board whose job it is to review bans and other moderation decisions by the company and determine whether or not they should stand.
The thing is, Trump wasn't banned just because he was obnoxious or even because he was cruel; he was banned because the lies he was telling made those who believed him do dangerous things like storm the Capitol building. And he hasn't stopped. Just this morning he released a "statement" claiming to have won the 2020 election.
The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!
Just last Wednesday, he stood at Mar-a-Lago ranting to a crowd about how the election was stolen from him.
The risk that was "too great" the day after the riots has not lessened.
It's not less likely that Trump will continue to claim the election was stolen from him. It's not now less likely that someone will do something dangerous in the name of restoring Trump to the White House. After all, they've still got those QAnon people recounting ballots in Arizona. They've got Lin Wood going around telling people Trump is not only still president, but is still in the White House. They've got their preachers and prophets claiming he is still president as far as Heaven is concerned.
Things have not subsided, but they also haven't spread as much as they might have had Trump been on social media throughout. They've been a little more contained, and that's been pretty nice for all of us.
Seventy percent of Republicans believe the election was stolen, and a not-insignificant number of them were willing to risk actual prison time to storm the Capitol building in hopes that it would lead to Trump staying in office. If Trump returns to Facebook, it's likely his non-stop talking about how the election was stolen from him will rile them up again, and we could see a repeat of January 6.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse