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Politics Donald Trump Facebook Ban Decision Will Be 'Controversial' Says Oversight Board Member

15:03  26 february  2021
15:03  26 february  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

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A member of Facebook's Oversight Board has said their upcoming decision on whether or not to permanently ban former president Donald Trump from the platform will be "controversial."

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Former president Donald Trump using his phone during a roundtable at the State Dining Room of the White House June 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump was banned from a number of social media platforms following the Capitol riots in January. © Alex Wong/Getty Former president Donald Trump using his phone during a roundtable at the State Dining Room of the White House June 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump was banned from a number of social media platforms following the Capitol riots in January.

The social media giant temporarily banned the former president in January after the Capitol riots last year, which he was accused of inciting. Trump has denied this claim.

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Facebook's Oversight Board is a committee made up for 19 members from a variety of backgrounds and professions tasked with ruling over the platform's moderation decisions. It is in the process of deciding if and when Trump's ban should be lifted.

Board member Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a former Danish Prime Minister, told the Wall Street Journal's The Journal podcast she anticipated the board's result would be criticized regardless of the decision.

She said the board was approaching questions such as whether there should be certain limitations for a politician, and whether a person's public profile should be taken into account in the decision-making process.

"We will look into all these issues and come back with a decision that I know for sure will be controversial because some will agree, some will disagree.

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"Basically it's up to us now to determine whether Trump should be excluded from Facebook forever, or without a set date where he could return," she said.

Thorning-Schmidt also said: "We are a very diverse bunch of people on the board, we are very global. We also try to balance the board politically so we come from different parts of the political spectrum. So I really hope that it won't be politicized, but I come from politics so I'm not naive."

She declined to offer details on whether the board was leaning one way or another on a decision.

Trump was suspended after he shared Facebook posts as rioters were still present in the U.S. Capitol. One of the posts included a video in which he falsely claimed the election was stolen from his voters, but also said his followers should "go home in peace."

On January 7, the day following the Capitol unrest, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook's decision to suspend Donald Trump.

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Zuckerberg said Facebook had allowed the former President to use the platform prior to his suspension even though some of his posts had to be removed or slapped with a warning label at times because "we believe that the public has a right to the broadcast possible access to political speech."

However, Zuckerberg said the context of the Capitol riots was "fundamentally different" and involved "use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government."

"We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great," he said.

a group of people standing in front of a building: Trump supporters clash with security forces at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. The unrest left five people dead. Brent Stirton/Getty © Brent Stirton/Getty Trump supporters clash with security forces at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. The unrest left five people dead. Brent Stirton/Getty

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