Facebook has an announcement scheduled for Wednesday at 9 a.m. Eastern Time as to whether former President Donald J. Trump can regain his megaphone on the website.
An independent body called the Facebook Oversight Board is expected to announce whether the company should maintain or lift its ban on the former president. The company suspended Mr. Trump’s account indefinitely on Jan. 7 after using social media accounts to convince a crowd of supporters to attack the Capitol the day before.
Here are key facts about the Facebook Oversight Board and its decision:
What is the Facebook oversight board?
The board consists of about 20 former political leaders, human rights activists and journalists who were selected by Facebook to advise on the substantive decisions of the company. It started a year ago and is based in London.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg came up with the idea of having an independent body that would act like a Supreme Court in 2018. The public should have the opportunity to appeal decisions made by Facebook to remove content that violates its guidelines on harmful and hateful and hateful conduct posts. Mr Zuckerberg said neither he nor the company wanted the final decision on the speech.
The company and paid members of the board emphasize that the board of directors is independent. However, Facebook is funding the board with a $ 130 million trust, and top executives played a huge role in its creation.
So far, the board has made a handful of decisions about minor shutdowns through Facebook. The majority of the rulings have overturned Facebook’s rulings.
What does the panel decide in relation to Trump?
Two weeks after Facebook decided to temporarily suspend Mr Trump’s account, the company announced it would refer the case to the Oversight Board for a final decision on the former president to be communicated to outsiders.
In a blog post, the company stated that executives had put Mr. Trump’s account on hold for violating the company’s policies on incitement to violence and that the deadly assault on the Capitol built on the company’s belief in a peaceful transition of government and contradicted the democratic process.
“We look forward to the decision of the board of directors – and we hope that given the clear justification of our actions on January 7th, the decisions we made will be confirmed,” Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs at Facebook, said in the Post.
The board will instruct Facebook to lift or maintain the ban. The judgment can also be more nuanced. The board could say that the ban was appropriate at that point, but is no longer necessary, or that the ban was the wrong decision from the start.
The company then has seven days to put the Board’s decision into effect.
How does the board of directors make its decision?
The board records cases that are referenced by Facebook or the public. The committee then selects five members who should first discuss each case, one of which is based in the home country represented by the case.
Members meet to discuss the case and review public comments. More than 9,000 comments were submitted to Trump’s account. The board extended its 90-day deadline for decisions on the Trump case due to the high volume of public comments. The board will base its decision on two main criteria: If Facebook’s ban on Mr. Trump meets the company’s community standards and complies with human rights laws. If the smaller group of board members achieves a majority, the decision is submitted to the full board for a vote.
In the Trump case, Facebook also asked the board to make policy recommendations on how to deal with the accounts of political leaders. The company does not have to adopt the recommendations.
Is this decision the last word with Trump?
If Facebook follows its own rules, then yes. The company has declared that all decisions of the Supervisory Board are binding and that even Mr. Zuckerberg could not overturn the decisions. (Mr Trump was also permanently banned from Twitter, where he had around 88 million followers.)
However, there is no agency enforcing this agreement between Facebook and the board of directors. Facebook has rejected a recommendation from the board that dealt with the shutdown of a Covid-19 post. The company says recommendations are different from decisions and are non-binding.