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Facebook blocked Trump’s access

Was it right to ban Trump from Facebook?

Facebook blocked Trump’s access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts over concerns of further violent unrest following the Jan. 6 storming of the US Capitol by the former president’s supporters.

Facebook´s and Twitter´s decisions to block former US President Donald Trump´s access to the platforms have led to wide discussions about freedom of expression and if big companies have the right to decide what can be said. Facebook has now announced that it is referring its decision to indefinitely suspend the accounts of  Mr Trump to its independent oversight board. Mr Trump will remain suspended while the board reviews the decision.

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 international experts and civic leaders.

”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”,  Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, wrote in a blog.

”Our decision to suspend then-President Trump’s access was taken in extraordinary circumstances: a US president actively fomenting a violent insurrection designed to thwart the peaceful transition of power; five people killed; legislators fleeing the seat of democracy. This has never happened before — and we hope it will never happen again. It was an unprecedented set of events which called for unprecedented action. In making our decision, our first priority was to assist in the peaceful transfer of power.”

”We have taken the view that in open democracies people have a right to hear what their politicians are saying — the good, the bad and the ugly — so that they can be held to account. But it has never meant that politicians can say whatever they like. They remain subject to our policies banning the use of our platform to incite violence. It is these policies that were enforced when we took the decision to suspend President Trump’s access.”

The board has a maximum of 90 days to make a ruling. A spokesperson for the board  said it would likely be sooner than that. The administrators of Donald Trump’s Facebook page will have the option to submit a written statement challenging Facebook’s decision.

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