Donald Trump Erupts Over Extended Facebook Ban
Former President Donald Trump threw a tantrum on Wednesday after Facebook announced that his ban would be extended by another six months.
The Associated Press noted:
The binding verdict means Trump will not for now be able to return to Facebook’s platforms, where he had a combined 59 million followers across Facebook and Instagram, His campaign spent about $160 million on Facebook ads in 2020, according to Democratic digital firm Bully Pulpit Interactive’s campaign tracker.
In a statement released by his office, Trump claimed that Facebook and other social media sites that have suspended his posting privileges – including Twitter and Facebook-owned Instagram – are violating his First Amendment rights to free speech:
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.
Trump statement following the news from Facebook's Oversight Board upholding its ban on him pic.twitter.com/o6lfGdKYnl
— Alayna Treene (@alaynatreene) May 5, 2021
The United States Constitution states that the government – not private corporate entities – must not stifle free speech. But Trump did touch on an important topic, which is the role social media should or should not have in national political discourse.
The best and simplest way to avoid interfering in democratic processes would be for platforms to avoid politics altogether. Given the amount of money they rake in from campaigns, candidates, and elected officials, however, neutrality is probably never going to happen.
Still, observers say that Facebook needs to step up and either fully enforce its standards or permit Trump to resume using its platform.
‘This verdict is a desperate attempt to have it both ways, upholding the ‘ban’ of Donald Trump without actually banning him, while punting any real decisions back to Facebook,’ a group of academics, experts and Facebook critics known as the ‘Real Facebook Oversight Board.’