As Facebook Bans Trump for Two Years, It’s Missing the Full Picture and Failing Our Democracy

MapLight | June 04, 2021

Following an announcement from Facebook that it will ban former President Donald Trump for two years and no longer exempt politicians from the company’s community standards by considering all speech by politicians “newsworthy” by default, Decode Democracy President Daniel G. Newman issued the following statement:

“Facebook’s decision to ban Donald Trump for two years is wholly insufficient to protect our democracy from the blatant lies, disinformation, conspiracy theories, and incitements to violence Trump has proven he will spread on the platform as soon as he’s given the chance. Facebook should permanently ban Trump based on the totality of his behavior. Failing to do so risks more violence and attacks on our democracy.

“As part of the company’s response to the Oversight Board, Facebook committed to enforce standards on harmful content such as harassment, discrimination and hate speech on political figures rather than offering them a blanket “newsworthiness” exemption. While that’s a valuable step, it falls short of what’s needed for the company to truly address the disinformation crisis on its platform. Although Facebook put an end to the automatic application of a newsworthiness exemption, it retained the power to leave up posts that violate its policy and even amplify such posts when it sees fit.

“Facebook also appears to be declining the Oversight Board’s recommendation to review its role in fueling the narrative that sparked the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Additionally, the company is clinging to yet another dangerous policy by refusing to fact check false and deceptive content from politicians that destabilizes our political system. Powerful disinformation campaigns spread by politicians are essentially given a green light from Facebook to continue unabated while our democracy suffers the consequences. Until Facebook closes those loopholes, we can only see this recent announcement as merely a half-measure.”