The 20 lawyers and administration experts assigned to give “independent” verdicts on Facebook’s often controversial behavior have shown that they have some teeth in their first major verdict.
Asked by Facebook if it was right to block Donald Trump from his platform in the run-up to the US presidential election, the supervisory board backed the ban. Its members agreed that the former president violated the rules of social networking by praising people involved in violence and creating “an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible”.
But the board – a Supreme Court-style body appointed in 2020 – also criticized Facebook for failing to properly process its decision on a new fine and restraint for Trump in the form of an indefinite ban. It returned the box to the agency to decide when and how to return Trump.
Questioning the legitimacy of the case, the board said, “While seeking to impose a vague, disrespectful penalty and then refer the case to the board for resolution, Facebook seeks to avoid its responsibilities.” “The board rejected Facebook’s request and insisted that Facebook could enforce and justify a set fine.”
Hale Thorning-Schmidt, a former Danish prime minister and member of the supervisory board, said: ”
The decision to create the board came after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said social networks should not be “arbitrators of the truth” about “everything people say online.” Instead, the company has outsourced it The most difficult question What to drop and what to leave about
Knot Parsley, a professor at Stanford Law School, said the oversight board was the best solution without government intervention. “Facebook has borne the brunt of this test,” he said.
In an interview Financial Times Global Boardroom At Wednesday’s conference, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs and communications, acknowledged that the board had been “very critical” of Facebook’s decision to ban Trump, “in terms of standards, policies and proportionality.”
He declined to respond directly to criticism, but said the agency would “leave now and consider how we can improve our approach” and hoped to act “fast enough” beyond the six-month deadline set by the board. “It’s not a perfect answer, but it’s the best answer we can bring to an imperfect world,” he added.
But Complete decision from the board It also revealed the limits of its power as it went against Facebook’s business model.
The board said Facebook declined to answer the seven questions they raised, and only partially answered the two. These included how Trump’s posts were viewed on Facebook’s news feed and how Facebook considered changing its news feed to acclaimed or controversial posts in the wake of the January U.S. Capitol storm.
Followers of Trump’s account also declined to discuss whether Facebook violated its rules, or whether any politician leaned on the company to suspend Trump’s account.
Jesse Lehrich, of the campaign group Accountable Tech, said Facebook “probably doesn’t want the board to have such an ass pain” and did a “good job of getting them on their knees” by withholding information.
While the board’s decision on Trump’s decision on Trump within six months is binding, it is not what Facebook should recommend about other policies.
Many of its recommendations have probably made the company uncomfortable.
This includes calling on Facebook to make public the process of suspending or banning the accounts of influential personalities, following widespread outrage over the manner in which it is opaquely punished. Facebook has previously argued that being transparent about its rules would help bad actors play the system.
Facebook has also suggested forming a team to manage influential politicians that “should avoid political and economic interference, as well as unwanted influence”.
The agency has faced allegations, which they deny, that it has become trivial on both the left and the right, and the concerns of right-leaning Washington lobbies such as Joel Kapalan, vice president of Facebook’s global public policy Involved in moderate decision making.
Evelyn Dwick, a lecturer at Harvard Law School, Described Trump’s decision As “meatless and educational,” however, the board added that it “firmly refused to give any concrete instructions on what Facebook should do. This leaves many, many questions unanswered and unambiguous.”
# TechFT brings news, commentary and analysis from experts around the world to the fastest growing sector, technology and issues. Click here Get #techFT in your inbox