After years of Donald Trump spreading lies and disinformation on Facebook, the social network finally banned Trump from the platform last month after he incited a siege on the U.S. Capitol Building. Now, the Facebook Oversight Board is collecting public comments as it weighs whether to allow Trump to return to the platform or ban him for good.
Let us cut straight to the point: Donald Trump must be permanently banned from Facebook.
Not only is a ban long overdue, it’s consistent with Facebook’s own standards which exist to help “build community and bring the world closer together.” No one has a right to social media when they use it to incite violence, endanger the lives of others and destroy our democracy.
Trump’s messages to the violent mob that stormed the Capitol were but the latest installment in a long, ugly history of online incitement to violence and voter suppression, much of it targeting Black communities.
Taken together, the events of the past four years provide compelling evidence of how the former President systematically weaponized the platform to disenfranchise Black and other marginalized communities, destroy trust in our democratic institutions, incite white supremacists and militia groups, and finally summon them to breach the U.S. Capitol. For the sake of the health and future of our democracy, the Oversight Board should permanently ban Trump from Facebook.
Despite repeated violations of Facebook’s Community Standards, CEO Mark Zuckerberg decided not to enforce the platform’s own rules against the President due to the ostensible “newsworthiness” of Trump’s posts, turning a deaf ear to his employees’ advice. Zuckerberg’s subsequent decision to add a prompt to newsworthy posts violating the company's policies failed to slow the spread of Trump’s false claims of voter fraud and did nothing at all to prevent people from engaging with this toxic content. At the same time, Facebook’s algorithms continued to reward incendiary posts by the President which helped them go viral.
The Facebook Oversight Board has a unique opportunity to use its authority to help rebuild our fragile democracy. It’s time to say goodbye to Trump’s accounts for good.
Click here to read MapLight’s full public comment to the Facebook Oversight Board.