Facebook’s new oversight board says the tech giant can continue to ban former President Trump but must decide in six months whether or not it’s permanent–or suspend it for a determined amount of time.
The highly anticipated decision highlights Facebook’s vast power and growing public interest in Big Tech reform.
The paid Facebook board pushed back against Facebook’s indefinite suspension of Trump noting “users and their audiences must not be left in a state of uncertainty.”
The announcement means that for now, Trump cannot return to Facebook or Instagram where he had a combined 59 million followers.
Facebook initially issued the suspension because of two posts it said violated its standards. The first post involved the former president telling Capitol protesters and rioters on Jan. 6th “we love you, you’re very special.”
In the second post Trump called them “great patriots.”
Trump fired back via a statement on his new website, saying the Facebook ban takes away free speech and calling it “a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our country.”
Conservatives say the oversight board’s decision makes clear Facebook’s liberal bias.
Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council said it demonstrates that Big Tech has become the “robber barons” of modern times.
“They are picking sides,” said Perkins. “They are putting their thumb on the scale of freedom of speech and as a result it’s affecting the outcome of our elections.”
Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows told Fox News “it is two different standards–one for Donald Trump and one for a number of people that are on their sites.”
Around the globe, world leaders are taking note. Earlier this year, both Germany and France attacked Facebook and Twitter for banning Trump.
Germany’s Angela Merkel believes lawmakers, not Big Tech, should set the rules around free speech.
There’s a similar debate in the U.S. but also growing bipartisan support to go after modern-day monopolies.
Chris Lewis, the CEO of the open internet advocacy group Public Knowledge, told CBN News that tremendous public interest around the Facebook announcement demonstrates its broad influence and growing support for reform.
“What I think is important is that we continue to break down the power of these dominant digital platforms and provide greater accountability and transparency around their rules,” he said.