The Facebook Oversight Board has made headlines this week for temporarily upholding the social media platform’s ban on former President Donald Trump’s account.
As the Washington Examiner reported, however, the quasi-independent review panel argued in its opinion on the matter that Facebook’s indefinite ban on Trump was unfairly imposed.
“To be punished differently”
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a member of the oversight board, spoke out publicly during an Axios interview on Thursday.
“Facebook invented their own sanctions as they looked into this particular user, Trump,” she said. “Why is this user, Trump, any more special than anyone else? To be punished differently, in ways Facebook chooses to.”
Specifically, Thorning-Schmidt cited Facebook’s enforcement of a new rule just for Trump as an unfair element of the company’s decision.
“All users have the right to free speech,” she explained. “They also can’t step over Facebook’s community standards, and they also have the right for the sanctions and penalties that Facebook has in place, not new ones that Facebook invents.”
Facebook was one of several platforms to ban or limit Trump’s reach in the wake of a riot on Capitol Hill earlier this year.
“A bit lazy”
Following its initial ban, Facebook asked its oversight board to determine whether or not a permanent ban should be upheld. That decision came on Wednesday.
According to Breitbart, the board temporarily upheld the ban but found that it was “not appropriate” for Facebook to place a permanent ban, giving the company six months to justify “a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform.”
Facebook will also have six months to announce either an end date for the ban or permanently delete the impacted pages.
Critics have argued that the social media firm deferred to its oversight board to justify a permanent ban on the former president’s account, which is something Thorning-Schmidt personally supports. At the end of the day, though, she called Facebook “a bit lazy” for its initial response.
Trump himself was among those who spoke out against the board’s opinion, declaring on Wednesday that the decision to uphold his ongoing ban was a “total disgrace” and insisting that the company “must pay a political price,” according to Fox News.