Trump ban draws flood of opinions as Oversight Board nears ruling over Capitol riot suspension
Matt Schruers, the president of the Computer & Communication Industry Association says and are simply “exercising their own speech rights” in banning Trump from their platforms. (Jan. 11) AP Domestic
Pressure is intensifying on the Oversight Board as it nears a decision on a hotly contested question: whether to reverse former President Donald Trump’s indefinite suspension or ban him forever from and Instagram.
With Friday’s deadline for public input looming, the Oversight Board has received 9,000 comments, nearly 100 times the comments for its first five cases combined, Dex Hunter-Torricke, head of communications for the board, said Thursday during a discussion hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
“There are all sorts of actors and ordinary folks who said this is something that I care about,” he said.
Trump ban is forever: CFO says Donald Trump is suspended forever (even if he's elected president again)
ban for Marjorie Taylor Greene?: Marjorie Taylor Greene should be removed from for spreading “dangerous lies,” advocacy groups say
Academics led by Rick Hasen of the UC Irvine School of Law and including ’s former chief security chief Alex Stamos this week urged the Oversight Board not to lift Trump’s indefinite ban.
“Removal of a political leader from the platforms should be strongly disfavored, and it should be a last resort given the great benefits of robust political debate and protection for political and election-related speech,” they wrote in a letter shared with Politico. “But Trump’s actions justified the step of indefinitely deplatforming him.”
But in a letter to the Oversight Board shared with Axios, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee raised allegations of anti-conservative bias, saying ’s rules “are not applied in a fair and neutral manner.”
Will Oversight Board lift former President Donald Trump's indefinite ban on and Instagram? (Photo: Alex Brandon, AP)
“Instances where conservatives viewpoints have been censored, blocked, diminished harm the free exchange of ideas and irreparably damage conservative Americans' faith in the fairness of purportedly neutral actors ,” Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., the top Republican on Judiciary's antitrust panel, wrote in the letter, also signed by Reps. Darrell Issa, Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz.
A recent poll shows that majorities in both parties think political censorship is ly occurring on social media, but that belief is most prevalent on the political right. Though a popular rallying cry for the political right, researchers say they've found no evidence to support the claim that the platforms treat conservatives more harshly.
The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, on the other hand, recommended the Oversight Board delay its decision until conducts an independent study on whether the design of the platform contributed to the Capitol riot.
Trump ban is highest-profile decision for Oversight Board
The Trump ban is the most consequential case yet for the board, with far-reaching political implications for the nation. The board’s decision could also influence how other social media platforms treat the speech of other world leaders.
announced in January that the Oversight Board would review its decision to suspend Trump on Jan. 7, the day after a group of the president’s supporters stormed the Capitol.
It also asked the Oversight Board to wrestle with the thorny question of suspensions involving political leaders.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others have grown increasingly uneasy with the platform wielding the power to silence world leaders and reshape the nation’s online conversation.
“Our decision to suspend then-President Trump’s access was taken in extraordinary circumstances: a U.S. president actively fomenting a violent insurrection designed to thwart the peaceful transition of power; five people killed; legislators fleeing the seat of democracy,” Nick Clegg, 's vice president of global affairs, wrote last month.
“This has never happened before – and we hope it will never happen again. It was an unprecedented set of events which called for unprecedented action.”
and other social media companies also indefinitely suspended Trump’s account. Snapchat and permanently banned Trump.
“We faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety,” CEO Jack Dorsey said of the decision. “Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all.”
Former President Donald Trump was blocked from indefinitely following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. (Photo: DENIS CHARLET, AFP via Getty Images)
, and struggled to moderate Trump
Trump’s accounts on and Instagram remained suspended pending the Oversight Board’s decision.
Throughout his presidency, social media companies wrestled with how to moderate one of their most popular and volatile users.
Time and again, Trump tested the boundaries of what he could say, violating prohibitions against election misinformation, glorifying violence and falsehoods about COVID-19.
The decision to block Trump’s access to the major social media platforms following the Capitol riots was praised by Trump critics and had the support of most Americans, but was condemned by Trump supporters and free speech advocates who warned it set a dangerous precedent.
Saying the suspension has driven “intense global interest,” the Oversight Board accepted the case and pledged to conduct “a thorough and independent assessment of the company’s decision.”
Trump ruled , before ban: Will @realdonaldtrump log into Gab or somewhere else?
Will Oversight Board lift ban?: refers Donald Trump indefinite suspension after Capitol attack to oversight board which could overturn it
’s Oversight Board launched last year to review the toughest calls the company makes. It is supposed to function as an independent entity but gets financial backing and technical support from .
In September, some of the company's harshest critics launched a rival panel of independent experts to monitor .
” failed for months to take action over Donald Trump’s repeated use of its platform to incite violence, spread disinformation and systematic attempts to subvert the election. Its abject failure to act undoubtedly played a role in the violent events that unfolded at the Capitol on Jan. 6,” these critics said in a statement. “American democracy survived in spite of .”
The company dismissed the effort as “mostly longtime critics creating a new channel for existing criticisms.”
The Oversight Board, which has the authority to review and overturn the company’s content moderation decisions, showed its willingness to challenge ’s content moderation decisions in four of the first five cases it took on.
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2021/02/11/-trump-ban-oversight-board-comments/6729949002/