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Trump v Facebook: Ex-president rages at ban as White House says tech has responsibility to public

Zoe Tidman,Oliver O'Connell
Wednesday 05 May 2021 21:03
White House vows to ignore Trump if Facebook reinstates him

The Facebook Oversight Board has upheld the platform’s decision to ban Donald Trump for posts related to the attack on the US Capitol in January by his supporters.

An independent group that reviews the company’s most complex issues, the oversight panel also found that the platform was wrong to ban Mr Trump “indefinitely”, and insists that the company “apply and justify a defined penalty” – giving it six months to review its initial decision.

Mr Trump has reacted to the news with fury, demanding that “these corrupt social media companies must pay a political price”.

For its part, the White House says that social media companies have a responsibility to combat the spread of misinformation.

“The president’s view is that the major platforms have a responsibility related to the health and safety of all Americans to stop amplifying untrustworthy content, misinformation, disinformation – especially related to Covid-19, vaccines and elections,” press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Liz Cheney’s days in the House GOP leadership look to be numbered, with her immediate senior Steve Scalise officially coming out against her.

Mr Trump released another statement attacking Ms Cheney as throwing his support behind Elise Stefanik as the new party conference chair.


Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of US politics and today’s decision over whether to uphold Donald Trump’s Facebook ban.

Zoe Tidman5 May 2021 08:30

Facebook Inc oversight board to rule on Trump ban

A decision from Facebook Inc’s oversight board on whether to uphold Donald Trump’s indefinite suspension from the platform is expected later today.

The former US president was barred from a slew of social media platforms following the deadly 6 January storming of the U.S Capitol by his supporters.

The long-awaited ruling will bring the focus back onto how the world’s largest social network decides what world leaders and politicians can and can’t say on their platforms.

It is expected Wednesday morning in America - or early afternoon UK time.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Zoe Tidman5 May 2021 08:48

Why was Trump suspended from Facebook?

When Donald Trump was banned “indefinitely” by Facebook in the wake of January’s US Capitol attack it became the first social media company to meaningfully silence him.

Here is a reminder of how the ban came about:

What did Trump post to get himself banned from Facebook and will he be reinstated?

Facebook Oversight Board set to announce decision on ex-president’s access to platform

Zoe Tidman5 May 2021 09:03

Trump’s ‘communications platform’ on website

Ahead of today’s ruling, Donald Trump has launched a “communications platform” months after being banned by most social media sites including Facebook and Twitter.

Online comments regarding the announcement were sarcastically confused - but amused.

Oliver O’Connell has the full story:

Donald Trump mocked for new ‘communications platform’ that is actually just a blog

On Twitter, users wondered if it is powered by GeoCities, WordPress or MySpace

Zoe Tidman5 May 2021 09:23

Grounds for suspension

Facebook banned Donald Trump “indefinitely” over two incendiary posts but there are thousands more they could have silenced the ex-president over, media experts say.

Graeme Massie in Los Angeles reports:

Facebook is investigating two trump posts - there are thousands of others they could have banned him over

Ex-president posted 1,443 problematic posts in one year with no real punishment from social media giant

Zoe Tidman5 May 2021 09:33

What will today’s ruling mean?

Donald Trump’s fate on Facebook, the biggest social platform around, will be decided today.

If an independent panel rules in Trump’s favor, Facebook has seven days to reinstate the account.

If the board upholds Facebook‘s decision, Mr Trump will remain “indefinitely” suspended.

Politicians, free speech experts and activists around the world are watching the decision closely.

It has implications not only for Mr Trump but for tech companies, world leaders and people across the political spectrum — many of whom have wildly conflicting views of the proper role for technology companies when it comes to regulating online speech and protecting people from abuse and misinformation.

Associated Press

Zoe Tidman5 May 2021 09:52

Trump’s new blogging page

The former president has launched his own blogging page called‘ From the Desk of Donald J Trump’ ahead of the Facebook ruling.

Greg Evans takes a look at 15 of the most bizarre things the former president has already posted on it:

Zoe Tidman5 May 2021 10:04

‘He’s in great spirits!'

The night before the expected ruling on his Facebook profile, Donald Trump was in “great spirits” at a dinner with Ted Cruz, according to the US senator.

“We spent the evening talking about working together to re-take the House & Senate in 2022,” Mr Cruz said.

Zoe Tidman5 May 2021 10:16

What is the oversight panel?

Facebook created the oversight panel to rule on thorny content on its platforms following widespread criticism of its difficulty responding swiftly and effectively to misinformation, hate speech and nefarious influence campaigns.

Its decisions so far — all nine of them — have tended to favor free expression over the restriction of content.In its first rulings, the panel overturned four out of five decisions by the social network to take down questionable material.

It ordered Facebook to restore posts by users that the company said broke standards on adult nudity, hate speech, or dangerous individuals.

Critics of Facebook, however, worry that the Oversight Board is a mere distraction from the company’s deeper problems — ones that can’t be addressed in a handful of high-profile cases by a semi-independent body of experts.

Here is more on its first rulings, which took place in January:

Panel overturns 4 Facebook content takedowns in first ruling

Facebook’s quasi-independent oversight board issued its first rulings on Thursday, overturning four of five decisions by the social network to take down questionable content

Associated Press

Zoe Tidman5 May 2021 10:34

Explainer: What might happen after today?

While awaiting to hear what will happen to Donald Trump’s Facebook ban, here’s a reminder of how the process works and what might happen after today’s announcement:

EXPLAINER: Will Donald Trump return to Facebook?

Donald Trump will find out whether he gets to return to Facebook on Wednesday

Zoe Tidman5 May 2021 10:49

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