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Facebook’s supervisory board will decide whether Trump should be banned

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

Facebook has said it wants a binding decision by the supervisory board on the issue, given its importance.

“We think it’s important for the board to review it and make an independent assessment of whether it needs to be confirmed,” wrote Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs. “While we wait for the decision on board, Mr. Trump̵

7;s access will be suspended indefinitely.”

John Taylor, a spokesman for Facebook’s supervisory board, told CNN Business that he thought the board would have 90 days to reconsider the decision, but “we expect to act faster than that.”

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Facebook and Instagram have banned the publication of Trump’s account for at least the rest of his term, and perhaps “indefinitely” after his supporters stormed the US Capitol building in protest of the election. Twitter, Trump’s preferred social media platform, has banned it permanently.

In a blog post, the supervisory board said that Trump or the administrators of his pages would be able to present their feedback on Facebook’s decision on board as it considered whether to confirm or revoke Facebook’s decision.

“The supervisory board will launch at the end of 2020 to address exactly the type of extremely important issues raised by this case,” the board said. “The council was created to provide critical independent scrutiny of Facebook’s approach to the most challenging content issues, which have huge implications for global human rights and free expression.”

Jamal Green, co-chair of the supervisory board, told CNN Business that the case would be considered and resolved through three main objectives: whether Trump’s content really violated the policies of Facebook’s own platform; whether Facebook’s decision is in line with its own stated values; and whether Trump’s suspension is largely in line with – or undermines – international human rights principles.

This will be the most spectacular and subsequent case of the supervisory board so far. The council, set up to serve as a kind of Supreme Court to appeal and evaluate decisions to moderate Facebook’s content, only began taking action in the fall.
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Kate Clonik, an assistant professor of law at St. John’s University who studies technology and online speech, predicts that many will view the case as “Marbury v. Modison Moment” on Facebook, citing the main case of the US Supreme Court, which found the role of the judiciary review laws and government actions.

“The board can establish its seriousness and jurisdiction over FB,” she tweeted. “This may 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 for social media platforms to follow the leader in subsequent content decisions, the supervisory board’s decision could have huge consequences, according to Evelyn Duek, a professor of law at Harvard University.

“Currently, there is no bigger question in content moderation than whether Trump’s de-platforming marks the beginning of a new era in the way companies control their platforms,” ​​she wrote in a blog post. “The last few weeks have also shown that what a platform does can go wild on the Internet. … For all these reasons, the board’s decision in the Trump case could affect much more than one Facebook page.”

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