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World Suspension of Donald Trump's account: Facebook asks its "Supreme Court" to rule

23:18  21 january  2021
23:18  21 january  2021 Source:   lemonde.fr

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Facebook said Thursday it will refer its indefinite suspension of former President Donald Trump ’ s account to its independent oversight board — the highest-profile test to date for the panel, and a move that could lead to Trump either returning to the platform or facing a permanent suspension .

On Thursday, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court' s decision and grant President Donald Trump the ability to block his critics on Twitter. The petition seeks to revive a case decided by a New York federal judge in 2018.

For the first time, this special body must confirm or deny the request of the social network: the temporary suspension of the ex-president's account for at least two weeks, then extended for an "indefinite period".

This decision will be scrutinized very closely ... Facebook asked, Thursday, January 21, its "Supreme Court" to rule on the suspension of Donald Trump's account. This external entity was precisely created by Mark Zuckerberg's social network to settle contested moderation cases on appeal. His decision will be known in a few weeks and it will be "binding" because Facebook is committed to applying it.

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The “supreme court” - officially called the supervisory board - will for the first time have to confirm or reverse, at the request of Facebook, a decision, among the most controversial in its history: the temporary suspension, for at least two weeks, on behalf of the former President of the United States, announced on January 7 after the violent invasion of the Capitol. Facebook then specified that the freezing of Mr. Trump's account would continue for "an indefinite period".

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As with all its decisions, this “supreme court” will bring together a panel of five members, including at least one American. The 40 personalities who make up the council are often lawyers, NGO members or former public officials, such as Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former Prime Minister of Denmark. The panel will first collect on its site comments from parties wishing to speak - including Mr. Trump's.

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"We believe that our decision was necessary and good", wrote Facebook in its press release, recalling having acted in an "unprecedented" context, in order to prevent further violence.

The suspension has sparked heated debate, the company said:

“The reactions to our decision show the delicate balance that private companies are being asked to maintain. Some have said that Facebook should have banned President Trump a long time ago and that the violence on Capitol Hill itself was a product of social media; others saw it as an unacceptable manifestation of corporate power over freedom of expression. " Lively debate after the closure of Donald Trump's personal Twitter account

Since he put forward the idea of ​​a" supreme court "in early 2018, Mark Zuckerberg has hammered the idea that a CEO or a company cannot should not make important moderation decisions alone. Slow to establish itself, this "supreme court" has so far not allowed it to escape criticism of its content policy, especially during the US presidential campaign.

By now soliciting this outside entity, he is attempting to shift some of the responsibility for a much contested decision. The “court”, a private law legal UFO, will play part of its credibility on this case. His verdict could also reignite debate over the action of other social networks, such as Twitter, which permanently deleted Mr. Trump's account.

Facebook's dizzying “supreme court” project on content moderation

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