Nick Clegg to decide Donald Trump’s Facebook ban fate
The decision on whether or not to reinstate the former US President’s social media pages will be made by the former Lib Dem boss, who has been Facebook’s head of global affairs since 2018.
In January, after the Capitol Hill riot, Mr Trump’s followers invaded the Congress building, insisting that his election defeat be reversed, he was barred from Facebook and its sister site Instagram.
The attack killed five people, including one police officer.
Mr. Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook , retaliated by blocking Mr. Trump from all sites.
He later released a statement in which he described the disturbances as “shocking” and said that the “risks” of allowing the politician back on the stage were “too high.”
As a debate over free expression raged, Mr Clegg is said to have lobbied for an advisory panel dubbed the “Oversight Board” to determine if Mr Trump should be allowed back on social media platforms.
And he got his wish when Mr Zuckerberg said, ‘I defer to you, Nick,’ at a meeting in January to address the ban.
Mr. Clegg, who served as the UK’s deputy prime minister in a majority government with David Cameron for five years, advocated for an independent party, adding, “People would prefer we are not making such choices,” according to the New York Times.
The board of directors declared earlier this week that blocking Trump from Facebook was the correct decision.
It did not, however, ask for a permanent ban on the former US president’s use of social media.
Instead, the board squarely put the ball in the hands of Facebook’s founders, instructing them to make a final decision within six months.
Facebook reported to MailOnline today that Mr. Clegg will be in charge of making the final decision.
‘The panel’s ruling allows Facebook to place a temporary punishment on Trump, and Nick will lead the decision-making process on what to do next,’ according to a spokesperson.
Mr Clegg, on the other hand, would be trapped in a decision-making minefield, caught between those who fight for the right to free expression and those who advocate for the value of policing hate speech.
Facebook did not want to make the decision because ‘it’s politically loaded,’ according to Hany Farid, a professor and dean of the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Information.
‘They hand it over to the oversight committee, and the oversight committee says, ‘We don’t want this, you decide,” he said.
He assumed Facebook was hoping for a ruling from the advisory board that would protect the company from scrutiny.
He did claim, though, that the board had ‘punted on the difficult issue’ of Trump’s long-term access to Facebook.
‘The fact that they took the coward’s way out the only time they got an opportunity to potentially do anything doesn’t bode well for the oversight board,’ Farid said.
Mr Farid said he agreed with Facebook’s decision to block Trump, citing both his downplaying of the deadly coronavirus pandemic and his remarks to his followers on January 6 – who then stormed the US Capitol.
‘Zuckerberg has fairly notably made these remarks of not having to be in the field of being the arbiter of reality,’ said Sarah Roberts, an assistant professor of communication studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
‘It’s not like you should just put up your hands and walk away.’
‘It’s a bit absurd that you set up a board to have a review, and it places the power and burden back on Facebook,’ Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi acknowledged.
At a recent hearing on Capitol Hill, US senators slammed the heads of the major social media platforms and vowed tougher rules to combat widespread internet misinformation.
Mr. Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, and Google’s Sundar Pichai were grilled by politicians who criticized their sites for opioid addiction, teen deaths, hate, racial extremism, illegal immigration, and other issues.
Democrats in the United States blasted the networks for failing to prevent disinformation and incitement about Covid-19 vaccinations ahead of the January 6 Capitol riot.
Republicans have resurrected claims that social media sites are skewed toward conservatives.
The tech CEOs said that they were doing everything possible to keep negative content out.
‘We believe in free speech, free discourse, and free discussion to discover the facts,’ Dorsey said.
‘At the same time, we must strike a balance with our ability to avoid our service being used to sow doubt, discord, or diversion.’ We need the right to moderate material because of this.’
When it comes to policing content on social media sites, Mr. Dorsey called for flexible protocols to act as shared rules.
When it comes to what people think, Mr. Zuckerberg reaffirmed his view that private corporations should not be the judges of reality.