Facebook’s Oversight Board is expected to on May 5 announce its decision about the management’s blocking of Donald Trump’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram. The board has been asked to decide if it was correct of the management to close the accounts after the violent storming of the US Capitol on January 6 after Trump had made statements arguing his supporters to fight what he claims was unfair vote counting that made him loose the presidential election to Joe Biden.
The Oversight Board is a kind of Facebook Supreme Court. It was appointed by CEO Mark Zuckerberg to fend off critics saying the social media company has too much power. The Board comprises external specialists like lawyers, academics, politicians and media people. It has the power to change management’s decisions about what to publish, what not to publish and cases like closing of accounts.
Mark Zuckerberg has defended the company’s decision to stop Trumps’ accounts at that time saying:
“We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”
FREEDOM OF SPEECH
The Board’s decision concerning the Trump accounts will have huge impact on future similar cases at Facebook and concerning the very much discussed question: Who should control the big platforms? Should tech platforms decide what is OK to say and what is not? This gives them the de facto right to decide what is freedom of speech.
The European Union has indicated it disagrees with the platforms having this power and is procession a proposal from the EU Commission saying The Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act will encompass a single set of new rules applicable across the whole EU. ”They will create a safer and more open digital space, with European values at its centre.”
SAFER DIGITAL SPACE
As part of the European Digital Strategy, Shaping Europe’s Digital Future, the European Commission has proposed two legislative initiatives: the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA).
The DSA and DMA have two main goals, according to the commission:
- to create a safer digital space in which the fundamental rights of all users of digital services are protected
- to establish a level playing field to foster innovation, growth, and competitiveness, both in the European Single Market and globally