For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 5
Contact: Christina DiPasquale, [email protected], 202.716.1953
Upholding of Trump’s Facebook Suspension Must Lead to End Exemption of Politicians from Platform Rules Against Hateful Activity
Facebook Must Be Held Accountable to Black and Brown Users with New Company Leadership and Lawmaker Action
Today, Facebook Oversight Board announced the company made the correct decision to restrict the accounts of former President Donald Trump, after he was indefinitely suspended on the platform following the deadly insurrection and assault on the Capitol building on January 6, 2021. The Oversight Board told Facebook that it must complete its review of its decision to suspend Trump within six months of today’s date.
Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts were suspended indefinitely on Jan. 7, after he continued to post hateful rhetoric and election disinformation in the aftermath of the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol. Two weeks later, Facebook referred Trump’s appeal to the Oversight Board for a binding decision.
Said Erin Shields, national field organizer at MediaJustice, a leader of the Change the Terms coalition:
“Today, Facebook’s Oversight Board rightly affirmed the correctness of Facebook’s January 7 action to restrict the accounts of Donald Trump to protect the public from the hate and lies he spread to vast audiences through Facebook and Instagram. The Oversight Board’s move to uphold Trump’s suspension for six months and call for Facebook to complete its review of the decision requires CEO Mark Zuckerberg to take ownership of the company’s dangerous business model that profits from racialized hate and disinformation on the platform. Trump’s inflammatory social media posts not only encouraged the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6 but endangered communities of color and other marginalized groups for years—violating Facebook’s Community Standards with impunity.
“The decision to permanently ban Trump from Facebook and Instagram should have been quickly and easily made by Facebook leadership, without resorting to creating and funding the company’s Oversight Board to deflect responsibility, given the voluminous amount of dangerous content posted by the ex-president. We hope the Board’s ruling today pressures Facebook to finally end the exemption of politicians from standards established to protect the public from the weaponization of the platform. The massive loophole that allows political leaders to spread hate and lies on Facebook to their outsized audiences, instead of being held to an even higher bar for civic discourse and accurate information, has made the world even more vulnerable to the vast disinformation campaigns and hateful content that put our lives at risk and threaten groups historically intimidated into silence.
“We need real leadership and institutional changes at Facebook to put community safety over profit, and we welcome the intervention of lawmakers to finally undercut the power these unaccountable platforms abuse, risking our lives and the integrity of our democracy.”
MediaJustice is dedicated to building a grassroots movement for a more just and participatory media—fighting for racial, economic, and gender justice in a digital age. MediaJustice boldly advances communication rights, access, and power for communities harmed by persistent dehumanization, discrimination and disadvantage. Home of the #MediaJusticeNetwork, comprised of more than 100 grassroots partners, we envision a future where everyone is connected, represented, and free.