This week, concerns were raised that Donald Trump’s return to Facebok might encourage others to react in the same way. He could also use the information to spread misinformation or to attack others.
Meta, however, announced this week that they will restore the accounts of former President Trump on Facebook and Instagram. Trump had been banned from the platform following the insurrection on January 6th, 2021, and later referred that decision to the Oversight Board – an “expert body” the social network established to be an independent check and balance of its decision-making.
The board upheld the decision, but criticised the vague nature of suspension and the absence of specific criteria about when accounts may be restored.
The suspension was an exceptional decision made in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Facebook stated in an official statement that “the normal state of affairs would be that the public should have the opportunity to hear from a former president of the United States of America, as well as a candidate for that office again on our platforms.”
Like any other Facebook and Instagram user, Donald Trump must adhere to the Community Standards. In light of his violations, he now also faces heightened penalties for repeat offenses — penalties which will apply to other public figures whose accounts are reinstated from suspensions related to civil unrest under our updated protocol. “Facebook added that Mr. Trump will be banned from posting any further violations and will also be subject to a suspension of one month to two years depending on severity.”
Former president celebrated the lift of ban by posting to his Truth Social platform: “Facebook has lost billions of dollars since you ‘deplatformed’ me. They have just announced my reinstatement. “This should never happen to an incumbent president.
Do you have legitimate concerns?
Trump’s presidential campaign officially petitioned Facebook earlier in the month to be allowed back onto the platform, asserting that the ban had hindered public discourse.
Some people have voiced concern about the decision, suggesting that the ban should not have been lifted.
David Jacobson from the Cox School of Business at SMU, warned that “the concerns being expressed” are valid. He was reading social media posts posted by Russian fronts in the names of supposed Americans when the first Trump social media began. These topics were intended to weaken our nation’s trust in its social systems and democratic institutions as a whole.
As a response to events on January 6, 2021 the Facebook ban was implemented to show that anyone, and especially someone who has the power to inspire a crowd, is subject to rules.
It’s not hard to see why the social media companies are resisting censoring former president,” explained
Colin Campbell is an associate professor of Marketing at University of San Diego’s Knauss School of Business. He also serves as editor-in chief of The Journal of Advertising Research.
Campbell stated that Campbell “likely could have taken action to harm them or their shareholders.” However, the January 6th attack showed that more than just profit was at stake. It was likely that the fact that Twitter’s security team had to resort to manual monitoring methods made it easy for rioters organize for their attack.
Further evidence of the power of online word-of-mouth to rapidly grow into organized groups was demonstrated by the Capitol Riot. Now, the question is: How should these companies react?
Campbell stated that social media sites may consider different ways to prevent similar scenarios in the future. It is possible to use automated tools to detect and block harmful content prior it being posted.
Also, social media platforms may need to improve their software so no one gets kicked off the moderation platform. It could be a way to ensure purpose-built tools that allow for fast assessment and blocking remain an option.
We need to be aware that there are many risks involved in social media. It has been used by misinformation, hate speech, as well as content that can encourage violence.
“A multitude of industries are subject to regulation that protects the public – such as safety standards for airlines or defamation laws for broadcasters,” Campbell noted. “Social media has its own potential dangers, which warrant careful consideration and response.”