Facebook’s Advisory Board, that institution that Mark Zuckerberg originally described as his High Court, reviews highly iconic cases to determine whether the company’s decisions have been made in accordance with established values.
In its 10th case, the council has ratified a decision that even Chancellor Angela Merkel called “problematic”: suspend Donald Trump’s accounts after the assault on the US Capitol.
“The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to boycott the peaceful and legitimate transition of power to his chosen successor, Joe Biden,” Zuckerberg explained from the platform on January 7, 2021.
It seems like a logical decision, derived from a supposedly obvious infraction. But that decision was nothing else than the unilateral and arbitrary decision of a 36-year-old mogul to block the President of the United States on the same platform that helped him come to power.
The decision by Mark Zuckerberg was based on the same premise that Facebook uses for banning everyone who does not say what is expected: Community Values. The problem with Facebook’s community values is that no one else than perhaps Zuckerberg himself and his board of censors know what those values are.
To make a decision based on the set values, you need to set the values and make them clear to others. The so-called values that Facebook purportedly bases its censorship are more appropriate for a beauty pageant speech than for a High Court: “Be bold, focus on impact; move fast, be open and build social value ”.
In order to break the rules, there must be rules and they must be clear, precise and the same for everyone. Those of Facebook say that the content must be authentic, that it cannot demean, intimidate, exclude or silence others or violate the privacy of others. These are rules that Facebook itself violate all the time. Privacy is a primary example.
They say they will remove “content that extols violence or celebrates the suffering or humiliation of other people.” Unless it is “newsworthy and relevant to the public.” It was the case of Donald Trump.
Until January 7, 2021, the president had used the platform to freely speak his mind about a wide array of issues, such as climate change and the severity of covid-19, to highlight the risks of massive vote by email policies, to alert the Latino community about the DNCs hypocritical games, to encourage respect for law and order, especially given the increasing onset of violent acts within minority communities and to call the thugs that destroyed private property after George Floyd’s murder by a Derek Chauvin.
Trump also accused the Democratic Party of having stolen the elections and asked the vice president to annul the electoral result until proper investigations were carried out.
He campaigned for ending mass migration from Central America due to the obvious threat it represented and still represents to migrant safety. All of that was seen by the Left as some of the gravest sins ever committed by one single man. Meanwhile, the Left, along with Facebook and mainstream media applauded Antifa-led violence, which was also encouraged and justified by Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.
“It is not our job to intervene when politicians speak,” explained Facebook’s Vice President of Global Affairs and Communication, Nick Clegg, at the 2019 Atlantic Festival in Washington. “We do not submit politicians’ speech to our independent verifiers and we allow it as a general rule even when it violates our content standards”.
He didn’t mention an important detail: Political campaigns account for more than 3% of Facebook revenue in the US, and Trump campaigned more on Facebook than anywhere else.
On Election Day, Trump had spent more than $ 90 million on his Facebook campaign and Zuckerberg had repeated over and over again that platforms could not exercise the power to silence a democratically elected leader.
But Zuckerberg’s mind changed rapidly.
He changed his mind when Trump was becoming too dangerous to the political and technological Establishment, when he sought the dismemberment of out-of-control monopolistic entities that amass more power than many governments.
Just like Twitter and Google, Facebook enjoy the best of both worlds. They are exempted from all editorial responsibility while having the ability to indiscriminately regulate all content on their platforms.
From Alex Jones to Donald Trump, the Left-wing technology mafia took care of any strong voices who revealed the dangers of an almighty elite of technocrats to which the leaders of Facebook, Twitter and Google belong.
The council that now validates Zuckerberg’s decision is the latest acquisition in a parody of justice built to disguise a power without democracy that reserves all rights without assuming any responsibility.
The Ministry of Truth
Facebook’s independent supervisory board ruled on Wednesday in favor of keeping former US President Donald Trump’s account suspended.
In a statement the panel recommended that the company founded by Mark Zuckerberg reviewed the decision within six months and publicly detail its sanctions policy.
Facebook, like Twitter, suspended the account of the Republican leader after the assault on the Capitol on January 6 by a group of people that the mainstream media immediately associated to Trump.
The platform found that two publications by the former president violated company rules by supporting those who participated in the riots, in which five people died. What rules did Trump’s messages violate? No one knows.
Although the council ratified Facebook’s decision, it criticized that the sanction “did not follow a clear and published procedure”, since the “indefinite” suspensions are not described in the company’s content policies.
Common Facebook sanctions include removal of the offending content, imposition of a limited period of suspension, or permanent deactivation of the page and account.
In six more months, Facebook “must reexamine the arbitrary sanction it imposed on January 7 and decide the appropriate sanction,” the independent panel reported. “This sanction must be based on the seriousness of the violation and the prospect of future damages.”
Facebook noted in a statement that the panel “has not specified the appropriate duration of the sanction,” adding: “We will now consider the council’s decision and determine an action that is clear and proportionate.
Meanwhile, Trump’s accounts remain suspended. “The Republican also did not take long to react to the decision. “What Facebook, Twitter and Google have done is a total shame and a disgrace for our country,” the former president wrote in a press release in which he pointed out that a US president had been deprived of freedom of expression.
“The people of our country will not tolerate it! These corrupt social media companies must pay a political price and must never again be allowed to destroy and decimate our electoral process,” said the Republican.
Facebook rules forbid praising or supporting people involved in violence. However, the platform permitted all kinds of threats and calls to action that ended up in the violence seen all over the United States in the summer of 2020.
The council determined that the Republican, by maintaining an “unfounded narrative” of electoral fraud and persistent calls to action, created an environment in which “a serious risk of violence” was possible. In other words, Trump’s words were censored because they supposedly posed potential risk of violence, whereas speech that resulted in actual violence was tolerated.
In addition, Facebook’s panel recommended that the social network conduct a review “of his contribution to the narrative of electoral fraud and political tensions” that led to the attack on the Capitol.
Zuckerberg has explained that suspending Trump’s account indefinitely was important to reduce the risk of violence in the run-up to the inauguration of Democrat Joe Biden.
The Republican sought “to undermine the peaceful and legal transition of power to his elected successor,” argued the founder of the technology giant. The measure unleashed a wave of criticism among his followers, and misgivings in general, as it raises the debate about freedom of expression and the power that tech giants have to decide who is head and who is not.
Among the Twitter messages that led to Trump’s account being blocked, they cite rhetoric about electoral fraud. “The ballot boxes will be stolen, ballots will be falsified and even illegally printed and fraudulently signed” or “Vice President Mike Pence did not have the courage to do what had to be done to protect our country and our Constitution”, all of which later came true.
Facebook decided that the independent supervisory council made up of 20 members, including lawyers, human rights defenders and ironically, journalists, would be in charge of making the decision whether or not to reestablish the former president’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Zuckerberg’s company created this council, unique among social media companies, in 2019 to make recommendations on what policies to adopt in controversial situations.