Facebook Oversight Board Decision Re: Trump NOT WHAT YOU MAY THINK.

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Rather, this decision is a scathing indictment of Facebook itself.

Before I cover that, let’s talk Trump.

The easy questions: did Trump violate community standards? Yes- violently and seriously. Was the suspension valid and justified by FB own rules? Yes. Now to the big one: should Trump be allowed back?

I had kind of suspected Facebook wanted the FOB to be their fig leaf for conservatives, a decision which would allow FB to say:

“Hey, We didn’t want to ban Trump forever but the mean oversight board made us do it!”

As I read the decision, the FOB also thought that was what FB was up to. And they told FB: “we ain’t going to be your patsy and roll over and take the blame.”

With regard to Trump the FOB said – our job is to tell you if your rules are clear and consistent, if FB applies the rules fairly or not, if FB follows its own standards and the International Human Rights code it signed on to – the Rabat Plan Of Action. We, the FOB, do not make decisions on whether individual users deserve this penalty or that penalty.

Basically: it’s your (Facebook’s) job to determine if Trump gets a timeout or account deletion and we (the FOB) ain’t doing your job for you. You got six months to decide – clock starts now.

Now that the FOB is done with Trump they RIP Facebook:

  • You gave Trump an indefinite time out. WTF is an indefinite time out? That’s not on the terms of service. Everyone from Joe/Jane Blow to Trump needs some actual specific guidelines on what the consequences of violations actually are.
  • Speaking of which – what standards apply to time outs? How can people actually appeal if it isn’t clear what the timeout is for? Are timeouts applied evenly? Why doesn’t FB show stats which would reveal if consequences were even for everyone?
  • There is a hidden “newsworthy” exception which can get people (including Trump) out of timeout. Why is it hidden? Is that only relevant to people with millions of followers or can someone with ten followers use that? What standard defines newsworthy?
  • How come famous people have additional layers of review and ordinary people don’t? Based on what criteria do they override an initial decision to give a time-out?

The FOB points out that FB would NOT answer many of their questions. The big one Facebook wouldn’t answer?


Basically, Facebook wanted a “get out of jail free” card for Trump’s posts and the insurrection and the FOB told them: clean up your own damn mess.

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