Facebook’s independent oversight board on Wednesday upheld the company’s decision to suspend former President Donald Trump. But one among the foremost important aspects of the choice wasn’t really about the previous President’s social media accounts at all; instead, it had been a recommendation for a deeper review of the role the platform played within the spread of election conspiracy theories that, within the board’s words, “exacerbated tensions that culminated within the violence within us on Epiphany .”
The board said the review should “be an open reflection on the planning and policy choices that Facebook has made which will allow its platform to be abused.”
The company has attempted to distance itself from the thought that its platform played a task within the insurrection. Therefore the recommendation that it reckons with its culpability in election misinformation and violence might not be one it welcomes.
Speaking soon after the insurrection in January, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg sought to downplay her company’s role in fueling it — and suggested that other technology platforms were largely responsible.
While Facebook has more rules and more content moderators than other platforms, election conspiracy theories still flourished.
Facebook only began to ban content from or associated with “Stop the Steal,” a movement that sought to undermine the election results after the insurrection. The week of the election, a Facebook group dedicated to “Stop the Steal” gathered many thousands of members before packing up.
An internal Facebook report obtained by BuzzFeed News described Facebook’s tackling of Stop the Steal content as “piecemeal.”
The board’s recommendation that the company’s role within the insurrection is investigated isn’t binding, and Facebook can ignore it.
Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone told CNN Business Thursday that the corporate was considering all recommendations made by the board. However, he didn’t comment specifically on this recommendation.
Previously, when Facebook sought to look at the doubtless harmful role it plays on civil rights worldwide, it appointed an outdoor attorney to conduct an audit.
That audit, the results of which were published last summer, concluded Facebook had glaring blind spots for hateful content and misinformation and located the corporate had made decisions that “represent significant setbacks for civil rights.”
The audit prompted Facebook to rent experts in civil rights.
The recommendation was made by Facebook’s oversight board, which was found out to independently examine contested moderation decisions, which also instructed the corporate Wednesday that it must decide within six months whether Trump should be allowed to return to the platform. The board took issue with the indefinite suspension of Trump’s accounts and said the corporate must instead impose a penalty according to its policies, like a permanent ban or “time-bound period of suspension.”
Beyond its ruling on Trump’s account, the board offered multiple recommendations to the corporate, including more transparency around content moderation decisions, the event of protocols to quickly escalate political content for moderation, and therefore the review.