Conservatives loudly voiced their displeasure on social media on Wednesday after Facebook’s oversight board upheld the site’s ban on former President Donald Trump. The Oversight Board’s decision also applies to Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. Some lawmakers believe the tech giant may be getting too powerful. “It is a sad day for America. It’s a sad day for Facebook because I can tell you, a number of members of Congress are now looking at: Do they break up Facebook, do they make sure that they don’t have a monopoly?” Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said during “America’s Newsroom” on FoxNews. Nick Clegg, Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs, wrote that Trump’s indefinite suspension, which is actually against the rules of suspending accounts, on facebook and Instagram would be sent to the Oversight Board. The Oversight Board is actually supposed to be like a third-party. “The board was established last year to make the final call on some of the most difficult content decisions Facebook makes,” Clegg wrote in the post. “It is an independent body and its decisions are binding – they can’t be overruled by CEO Mark Zuckerberg or anyone else at Facebook.” The initial ban came after the claims President Trump had incited a violent incident, which occurred at the capitol building, January 6. 

What did the Oversight Board say? 

A member of the Oversight Board is slamming Facebook, calling them “lazy” for the referral of former President Donald Trump’s suspension from the social media platform. “We felt it was a bit lazy of Facebook to be sending over to us a penalty suggestion that didn’t exist in their own rulebook, so to speak, in their own community standards,” said former Danish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, during an Axios event. “We are not here to lift responsibility off Facebook. We’re here to be independent.” In a long statement the Oversight Board said “The Board has upheld Facebook’s decision on January 7, 2021, to restrict then-President Donald Trump’s access to posting content on his Facebook page and Instagram account. However, it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension. Facebook’s normal penalties include removing the violating content, imposing a time-bound period of suspension, or permanently disabling the page and account. The Board insists that Facebook review this matter to determine and justify a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform. Facebook must complete its review of this matter within six months of the date of this decision. The Board also made policy recommendations for Facebook to implement in developing clear, necessary, and proportionate policies that promote public safety and respect freedom of expression.” The Board’s statement was not signed by any members. The decision was prepared by a five-member panel and approved by a majority of the Board, according to Facebook. 

What does Trump think of the ban?

Former President Trump called the decision “a total disgrace” in a statement. “What Facebook, Twitter, and Google have done is a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our Country. Free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth, but the truth will come out anyway, bigger and stronger than ever before. The People of our Country will not stand for it! These corrupt social media companies must pay a political price, and must never again be allowed to destroy and decimate our Electoral Process.” After months of being banned from sites like Facebook, Instagram, and even twitter, Former President Trump launched a one-way communication platform. He said the “place to speak freely and safely. Straight from the desk of Donald J. Trump” is a “beacon of freedom”and gives him the ability to communicate directly with his followers. The technology is powered by Campaign Nucleus. The “digital ecosystem made for efficiently managing political campaigns and organizations.” Campaign Nucleus was created by Trump’s former campaign manager, Brad Parscale. The blog-like site allows former President Trump to post videos, pictures, or just plain text. The site only launched recently but the earliest post on the site is dated March 24, 2021. The site allows followers to share the former president’s posts to Twitter and Facebook. The new one-way platform does not have a feature to allow users to “reply” or comment on Trump’s posts but it does allow  users to “like” posts. Many people believed Trump would be release a social media platform such as Parler

The worry over big tech silencing former President Trump, who remains a leading contender to run for the office again in 2024, has left many Republicans feeling a call to action. Many lawmakers were already wary of the power of social media companies. What do you think about Trump’s new way of reaching his followers? Will former President Trump create an actual social media platform in the future? Should lawmakers be investigating Facebook and/or it’s practices? The only thing we know for sure is we definitely have not heard the last “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump.”

Written by: Erinn Malloy

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