It was a bit like the world’s worst Apple event. Tech and politics watchers waited for the clock to tick over to 2pm UK time on Wednesday, when Facebook’s Oversight Board would reveal its decision about whether or not Trump would be allowed back on the company’s apps.
But the result wasn’t as clean-cut as it was expected to be. Essentially, the Board kicked the decision about Trump’s future back to Mark Zuckerberg.
The Board agreed that Trump’s actions warranted suspension, but argued that an ‘indefinite’ suspension was a wrong because no such thing exists in the company’s rules; Facebook basically made it up so they could pass the difficult ultimate decision to the Oversight Board. The killer paragraph in the Board’s announcement
on Wednesday was this:
In applying a vague, standardless penalty and then referring this case to the Board to resolve, Facebook seeks to avoid its responsibilities. The Board declines Facebook’s request and insists that Facebook apply and justify a defined penalty.
The Oversight Board was highlighting a problem the Wall Street Journal wrote about earlier in the week
[$$$]: Facebook’s real
rules are often unclear and unpublished. Oversight Board member Alan Rusbridger has more detail on how the decision was reached in a piece for the Guardian
What’s next? The Oversight Board says Facebook has six months to figure out a penalty for Trump that falls in line with its published content rules.
In the meantime, Trump has his own ‘social platform’, which launched this week. But far from the Parler rival it was being pitched as in the media, it’s… just a blog
designed to allow fans to share his message onto the networks that have banned him.
But Trump appears to be out of luck if he thought his blog would let him sneak back on to Twitter. Seemingly official or semi-official accounts set up to share all posts from the new blog were shut down swiftly
While Twitter may permanently be a Trump-free zone (even conversation about him on there has dipped
to pre-presidency levels), the company still has to figure out a policy for how it should treat rule-breaking world leaders in the future. There’s a lot of public interest; Twitter says a recent survey on the topic received almost 49,000 responses globally
, in 14 languages. It won’t be possible to keep all those people happy.
Meanwhile eyes are on YouTube
, which has indicated Trump might
be allowed to return if the threat of violence following the January storming of the Capitol subsides.
He might not be allowed to post on them right now, but Trump is still a big issue for the major social networks.