Trump ‘egged on’ Capitol rioters: Fb panel co-chair

Issued on: 09/05/2021 – 21:42Modified: 09/05/2021 – 21:40

Washington (AFP)

Donald Trump encouraged the Capitol’s rioters to earn his Facebook ban, but the social media giant’s rules are “messed up” and need to be corrected, the network’s co-chairman said on Sunday.

The panel only agreed a few days ago that Facebook rightly ousted the ex-president for his comments on the January 6 deadly rampage, despite bypassing a general decision on whether he should ever be allowed to return.

“He made these statements that were only inciting – with superficial plea for peace – but mostly he was just inciting them to continue,” Michael McConnell, co-chair of the board of directors, told Fox News Sunday.

Trump was suspended from Facebook and Instagram after posting a video from his enthusiastic supporters during the attack questioning his loss of the election. He told them: “We love you, you are very special.”

“He (Trump) is responsible for his own situation. He lay in this bed and can sleep in it,” added McConnell.

However, the panel gave the company six months to justify why its ban should be permanent. It left a grenade on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s lap on the subject of free speech and pointed to weaknesses in the platform’s plan for self-regulation.

“We gave them (Facebook) some time to … get their house in order,” McConnell said. “They took some time because their rules are mixed up … they are unclear, they are internally inconsistent.”

McConnell, a professor of constitutional law at Stanford, noted that the social media giant did not violate Trump’s freedom of speech.

– ‘Facebook is not a government’ –

“The simple willing answer is that private companies are not bound by the first amendment,” he said, referring to the US Constitution. “He’s a customer. Facebook isn’t a government and he’s not a Facebook citizen.”

In its decision, the board of directors – viewed by Zuckerberg as the equivalent of a “Supreme Court” for sensitive content decisions – made additional recommendations on how to deal with potentially harmful content from world leaders.

The panel “urged Facebook to address the widespread confusion about how decisions are made regarding influential users,” saying “freshness should not be a priority when urgent action is needed to prevent significant harm.” . “

Twitter permanently suspended Trump after the Capitol uprising, claiming there is a risk he would incite further violence as his multiple tweets deny Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.

Twitter confirmed Thursday that it pulled the plug on several accounts linked to Trump in an attempt to circumvent the ban.

Social media had been key to Trump’s political success, getting him to comment without having to explain or support claims.

At a recent hearing held on Capitol Hill, US lawmakers criticized the leaders of major social networks and promised new regulations.

Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, and Google’s Sundar Pichai faced questions from lawmakers blaming their platforms for political extremism, substance abuse, teenage suicides, and more.

Zuckerberg reiterated his belief that private corporations shouldn’t be the judges of the truth when it comes to what people say.

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