Facebook can’t even keep a lid on its staff.
Following the Facebook Oversight Board’s decision to uphold the platform-wide ban against former President Donald Trump, one high-ranking member of the board is blowing the whistle on Facebook’s hypocrisy.
Michael McConnell, a former federal judge and current co-chairman of the Facebook Oversight Board, told Fox News‘ Chris Wallace on Sunday that the platform’s rules are in “shambles.”
Check out the interview here.
“Mr. Trump is subject to the same rules on Facebook as everyone else, and the oversight board held that this was, in fact, a violation, and thus Facebook was justified in taking them down,” McConnell said of Trump’s Jan. 6 posts to Twitter and Facebook.
Two of Trump’s posts in particular were the cause for his ban, according to the Oversight Board.
The case decision upholding the former president’s ban reads, “‘We love you. You’re very special’ in the first post and ‘great patriots’ and ‘remember this day forever’ in the second post violated Facebook’s rules prohibiting praise or support of people engaged in violence.”
What the board criticized, however, was the ban’s indefinite nature.
McConnell explained, “What we did say, though, was that they were not justified in taking them down indefinitely. That they did not provide any reasons for that, that that is not a provision in their rules. That was wrong, and we gave them a certain amount of time to get their house in order.”
The board gave Facebook six months to “re-examine the arbitrary penalty it imposed on January 7 and decide the appropriate penalty.”
Then, out of nowhere, the co-chair slammed Facebook. He told Wallace, “They needed some time because their rules are in shambles.”
“They’re not transparent, they’re unclear, they’re internally inconsistent. So we made a series of recommendations about how to make their rules clearer and more consistent, and the hope is that they will use the next few months to do that.”
McConnell is absolutely right. The leader of the free world was banned from communicating with his followers on the two largest platforms in the last weeks of his office, and yet Democrats like California Rep. Maxine Waters are allowed to continue on those same platforms while telling rioters to “stay on the street.”
Double standards abound on the platform, and Facebook’s biggest detractors are from the inside. What a sight.
McConnell continued, saying that while the former president doesn’t legally have any First Amendment right to free speech on Facebook, because the amendment only controls the government, not private entities, the oversight board is attempting to “bring some of the most important principles of the First Amendment, of free expression law globally, into this operation.”
Again, McConnell unceremoniously slammed his employer, saying Facebook “exercises too much power.”
“They are arbitrary, they are inconsistent, and it is the job of the oversight board to try to bring some discipline to that process.”
McConnell said that the oversight board will continue to identify ways in which “Facebook has been non-transparent, ways in which they’ve been arbitrary, and trying to nudge them toward a more free speech, free expression-friendly environment.”
The former federal judge’s firm stance on this issue is refreshing, to say the least.
Rather than plead ignorance to Facebook’s blatant abuses of power in past months, the oversight board is actually condemning its exploits and pushing the platform to act with the integrity it calls its users to.
While Trump may still be banned from Facebook, blocking communication with millions of his supporters for months to come, seeing people like McConnell tear down double standards from the inside promises a more consistent, more transparent Facebook in the near future.
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