Facebook’s “Supreme Court” is now accepting comment on one of its earliest and possibly most important cases. Facebook’s oversight committee said on Friday it would begin accepting public comment on Facebook’s suspension of former President Trump.
Mark Zuckerberg announced Trump’s suspension on January 7, after the then President of the United States instigated his supporters to riot on the nation’s Capitol, an event that resulted in a number of deaths and jeopardize the peaceful transition of power.
In a post calling for comment, the Oversight Board describes the two positions that led to Trump’s suspension. One is a version of the video the president shared on the day of the Capitol riot in which he sympathizes with the rioters and validates their claim that “the election was stolen from us.” In the second article, Trump reiterates these views, mistakenly lamenting a “holy election victory” that was “unceremoniously and viciously stripped.”
The board says the purpose of the public comment process is to incorporate “diverse perspectives” from third parties who wish to share research that could inform their decisions, although it seems much more likely that the board will end up with a mess. subjective tide and political holds probably not particularly useful. Nevertheless, the comment process will be open for 10 days and the comments will be gathered in an annex for each case. The council will issue a decision on Trump’s fate on Facebook within 90 days of January 21, although the verdict may come sooner.
The Supervisory Board specifically solicits comments from the public that take into account:
Was Facebook’s decision to indefinitely suspend President Trump’s accounts consistent with the company’s responsibilities to respect free speech and human rights, whether and what alternative measures should have been taken? action should be taken for these accounts in the future?
How Facebook should assess the non-Facebook context in applying its community standards, particularly when Facebook is looking to determine if the content may incite violence.
How Facebook should treat the expression of political candidates, office holders and former office holders, given their different positions of power, the importance of political opposition and the public’s right to information.
The accessibility of Facebook’s rules for the application at the account level (for example, deactivation of accounts or account functions) and remedies against that application.
Considerations for the consistent overall application of Facebook’s content policies against political leaders, whether at the content level (e.g., removal of content) or at the account level (e.g., deactivation of account functions) , including the relevance of Facebook’s “journalistic value” exemption and Facebook’s human rights responsibilities.
The Supervisory Board’s post goes into great detail on Trump’s suspension, criticizing Facebook for its lack of specificity when the company failed to indicate exactly which part of its community standards were violated. Between this case and the five recent cases, the board appears to view its role as a technical one, in which it examines each case against Facebook’s existing rule set, and then makes recommendations for future policy rather than work backwards from its own broader recommendations.
Facebook’s Supervisory Board announced its first batch of decisions this week, overturning the company’s choice to remove potentially objectionable content in four out of five cases. None of these cases involved content relevant to Trump’s account suspension, but they prove that the Supervisory Board isn’t afraid to go against the company’s own thinking – at least in this regard. which concerns what is deleted.