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Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021

Facebook wants you to comment on its Trump ban. Here's how.

Facebook wants you to comment on its Trump ban. Here's how.

The company's Oversight Board announced its first case decisions last week

Facebook's Oversight Board is calling for public input regarding the indefinite suspension of former President Donald Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Facebook elected to refer the case to the board on Jan. 21, and the board announced the decision to take up the mantle a week later.

A description of the case provided on the board's website details the removal of two posts during the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol.

The first post was a video Trump posted as members of both parties called for him to speak out against the riot and urge the mob to stop. Trump, repeating unfounded claims, said in the video that while he knew the "election was stolen," there had to be peace.

"This was a fraudulent election, but we can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home," he urged. "We love you. You're very special. You've seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace."


Supporters of President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.


Facebook removed the post for violating its community standard on "Dangerous Individuals and Organizations."

In a statement the same day, Trump wrote in a second post: "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love in peace."

Facebook removed that post under the same standard but has not clarified specifically what aspect of the policy it violated.

The social media giant then put a temporary 24-hour ban on the president's accounts, before indefinitely suspending his access on Jan. 7.

Facebook has yet to clarify the nature of the restrictions against Trump, but cited the use of their platform "incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government."

The board noted under the post descriptions that Facebook had said the decision to suspend Trump was "take in extraordinary circumstances" but that they believe it was "necessary and right" when weighted against their Community Standards.

What's left for the board -- and the public -- to determine is if the tech company was, indeed, correct to take action.

Furthermore, Facebook is requesting "observations or recommendations on suspensions when the user is a political leader."

“We believe our decision was necessary and right,” Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg said in a statement. “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.”



Developed to be Facebook’s “Supreme Court," the Oversight Board -- which was formed just last year -- announced its first decisions on five cases Thursday.

In four of the five cases they reviewed, they overturned Facebook's decisions to remove content related to multiple issues.

In order to reach fair conclusions, the 20-person group has placed value on comments from the general public.

"The Board is committed to bringing diverse perspectives from third parties into the case review process," they explain on their website. "Through our public comment process, we invite subject matter experts and other interested groups to share relevant information that may help the Oversight Board deliberate specific cases."


"We recognise the level of interest in our case regarding former US President Trump," they wrote in a series of tweets on Friday. "We encourage people and organizations to share their insights through our public comments process..."

In order to submit a comment, interested parties must meet several requirements including being written in English, no more than 2 pages in Times New Roman 12pt font, address the issues at hand, include a full name and/or organization, and meet a set deadline.

The Oversight Board's deadline to submit for this case is 10 a.m. EST on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021.

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