Facebook Oversight Board director knocks lack of transparency in Trump ban

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The director of Facebook’s independent Oversight Board on Wednesday knocked the platform over what he called a lack of transparency in its decision to suspend former President Trump.

Facebook “did not handle the case in a manner that was transparent or consistent or predictable for the user,” Thomas Hughes said on MSNBC’s “Hallie Jackson Reports.”

His views were shared by Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a former prime minister of Denmark and member of the Oversight Board who highlighted the opaqueness of Facebook’s policies in Trump’s case.

“What is important is that if Facebook has a newsworthiness part of their decision, they must make that transparent, because it’s not transparent,” she said on a call with reporters.

The Oversight Board ruled Wednesday that Facebook was right to suspend Trump for posts he made around the insurrection at the Capitol in January but that the decision to make the length of that ban indefinite was not supported by platform policy.

The board, which is composed of 20 academics, journalists and former politicians, kicked the decision back to Facebook over whether the former president should eventually be allowed back on the platform.

In its decision, the board suggested that Facebook was not fully transparent during its review either, noting that the company declined to answer seven of the 46 questions asked of the platform by the board.

“Facebook stated that this information was not reasonably required for decision-making in accordance with the intent of the Charter; was not technically feasible to provide; was covered by attorney/client privilege; and/or could not or should not be provided because of legal, privacy, safety, or data protection concerns,” the board explained in the decision.

Facebook will now have to issue a decision on Trump within six months. Some observers see that as an opportunity for the platform to establish clearer standards for how content posted by political leaders should be handled.

Tags Donald Trump Facebook Facebook's Trump ban jan. 6 Social media
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