The Facebook Oversight Board has reached a decision on Donald Trump…kind of.
The tech company’s ‘Supreme Court’ is upholding the move to restrict Trump’s ‘access to posting content on his Facebook page and Instagram account’. But the board deemed it ‘not appropriate’ to indefinitely suspend Trump from Facebook’s platforms, describing that penalty as ‘indeterminate and standardless’. The FOB wants Facebook to ‘determine and justify a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform’ in the next six months. In other words — they punted.
Trump has been prevented from posting on Facebook and Instagram since January 7, after some of his supporters marched from his rally in Washington DC and entered the Capitol building, interrupting the certification of the Electoral College vote and Literally Obstructing Democracy. Presumably Facebook was concerned about the PR blowback as many of the Capitol stormers livestreamed their jaunt on Facebook and Instagram — and much of the planning for the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally took place in Facebook groups. Their knee-jerk reaction was to stop Trump from posting and let their new oversight board decide whether that decision was just at a later date.
The Facebook Oversight Board looks a bit like the UN. Its members hail from 16 different countries (with five Americans, of course) and are a mix of journalists, judges, academics, NGO chiefs and human rights activists. It is the very model of diversity — it counts among its co-chairs a Columbia law professor and a law professor from Colombia. That sexy Danish PM who flirted with Obama at Nelson Mandela’s funeral and married Neil Kinnock’s son is also there, as is former Guardian editor and current Oxford don Alan Rusbridger — glad that someone on the board has the working man’s back. As far as Cockburn can tell, conservatives are represented on the 20-member committee by…Michael W. McConnell, a judge appointed to the 10th Circuit by George W. Bush.
If you were picking a dream line-up of globalists to slow-walk an extrajudicial process and drain the passion from a politically-charged situation through the magic of bureaucracy, you could do worse than the FOB.
Today’s ruling seems designed to up the morphine dosage on the former president’s comatose mainstream social media presence. Cockburn wonders how the new Trump platform promised by Jason Miller is coming along. Miller told Fox in mid-March that the Donald’s social network would be ‘the hottest ticket in town’ and that he expected it to be online in two to three months. In the meantime, Trump will have to content himself with his new blog and his Substack (emailing his tweets to every hack on his campaign press list). Wouldn’t it be easier to just post less?