Facebook Should Ban More World Leaders
In many countries, Facebook is one of the few alternatives to the government-aligned outlets that dominate national media ecosystems. That is why authorities have devoted so many resources to manipulating it, and why the company must take responsibility for stopping them.
WASHINGTON, DC – I’ve been a professional free-expression advocate for more than a decade. That is why I support the Facebook Oversight Board’s recent decision to uphold former President Donald Trump’s suspension from the platform and Facebook’s new protocol whereby public figures may be banned for up to two years during times of civil unrest. In fact, the platform should go further.
Trump used his bully pulpit on social media to attack and harass news organizations, political opponents, and former political allies. He used it to undermine confidence in the 2020 presidential election, with a significant share of Americans continuing to doubt the outcome, despite the absence of any evidence of widespread irregularities or fraud. And he used it to perpetuate misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In other words, with the help of social-media platforms, Trump undermined the norms and institutions that underpin the functioning of representative government, while increasing the coronavirus death toll in the United States. And he engaged in precisely the kinds of harassment and hate speech that social-media platforms prohibit.