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Facebook’s supervisory board will decide whether to ban Trump

Facebook (FB) has referred its previous decision to suspend former President Donald Trump’s posting rights to its independent supervisory board for review, the company said in a blog post Thursday.

Facebook said they want the Supervisory Board’s binding decision in the case to have its significance.

“We think it’s important for the board to review it and reach an independent verdict on whether it should be maintained,” wrote Facebook VP of Global Affairs Nick Clegg. “While we await the Board’s decision, Mr. Trump̵

7;s access remains indefinite.”

John Taylor, a spokesman for the Facebook Oversight Board, told CNN Business that the board, within its framework, will have 90 days to review the decision, but “we expect to act faster than that.”

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Facebook and Instagram banned Trump’s account for at least the rest of his term and perhaps “indefinitely,” after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building to protest the election. Twitter, Trump’s favorite social media platform, banned him permanently.

In a blog post, the Board of Supervisors said Trump or his page administrators will be able to submit their feedback on the Facebook decision to the board as it considers whether to uphold or overthrow Facebook’s decision.

“The Board of Supervisors was launched in late 2020 to address exactly the kind of very sensitive issues that this case raised,” the board said. “The Board was set up to provide critical independent control of Facebook’s approach to the most challenging content issues, which have enormous implications for global human rights and freedom of expression.”

Jamal Greene, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, told CNN Business that the case will be seen and decided through three main lenses: whether Trump’s content really violated Facebook’s own platform policy; whether Facebook’s decision is consistent with its own stated values; and whether Trump’s suspension largely complies with – or undercut – international human rights principles.

This will be the Supervisory Board’s most high-profile case and companionship to date. The board, set up to serve as a sort of supreme court for appeal and evaluation of Facebook’s content moderation decisions, only began taking cases in the fall.
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Kate Klonick, an assistant law professor at St. John’s University, which studies technology and online speech, predicted that many would see the case as Facebook’s “Marbury v. Madison moment,” citing the crucial U.S. Supreme Court case that established the role of the justice system in reviewing laws and government actions.

“The board can determine its seriousness and jurisdiction / power over FB,” she tweeted. “It could be good for the board, but it also means it’s very risky to establish legitimacy, especially so early in its history.”

Given the tendency of social media platforms to play the aftermath of consistent content enforcement decisions, the Board of Supervisors’ decision could have major consequences, according to Evelyn Douek, an associate professor at Harvard University Law School.

“There is no greater question in content moderation right now than whether Trump’s breakdown represents the start of a new era in how companies politicize their platforms,” ​​she wrote in a blog post. “The last few weeks have also shown that what a platform does can curl up over the Internet … For all these reasons, the board’s decision on Trump’s case could affect far more than a Facebook page.”

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