This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. You can do this Register here Getting it on weekdays.
Facebook’s new “Supreme Court” is taking its biggest case: Donald Trump.
Company recent decision Suspend Mr. Trump’s account After provoking a crowd – to put it mildly – was controversial. On Thursday, the company Asked its independent oversight body to review its decision And make a final call on whether the former president should be allowed back on Facebook and Instagram.
Tell me what this oversight board will do, and some of its benefits and limitations:
An independent intermediary is good. To a level In 2019, Facebook outlined its plans for a court-like institution Rethink the most high-profile situations In which people feel that Facebook has implemented its rules against hate speech, inciting violence or other abuses.
Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of Facebook, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Undisputed power to silence world leaders and shape online discourse. Oversight boards, whose rulers call Facebook binding, are a yardstick for independent accountability for site decisions.
Trump’s suspension is the biggest case yet for the oversight board, which remains Outside expert And more recently Selected its first cases to review. The ruling will be closely watched and Facebook will influence the validity of this new measure of justice.
(For a deeper reading, see This post by Evelyn Doyak, A lecturer on law and SJD candidate at Harvard Law School who studies online speech regulation.)
Is it time for world leaders to change policy? The Overside Board is also being asked to consider a question that goes far beyond Mr. Trump: Should Facebook continue to give more to world leaders than the rest of us?
Both Facebook and Twitter allow top public officials to post hateful or untrue posts that most of us will have blocked or deleted our posts. The principle behind this is sound: what the world leaders say is a matter of public importance, and the public should be able to see and evaluate their views without a filter.
There are trade-offs in the real world, however, when powerful people have a megaphone to scare them if they want to.
In Myanmar, military leaders used Facebook to provoke A massacre Most Muslims are against Rohingya minorities. In India, a prominent politician Threatened to destroy mosques and called Muslims traitors In your Facebook post. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran has Called For the destruction of Israel on Twitter. And on social media sites Mr trump And Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has aligned to shoot his citizens.
Business and economy
Those world leaders can often say the same things on television or in press statements, but when this happens journalists usually have opportunities to provide context and feedback.
Recent New York Times editorial board member Greg Bensinger Argued that the world leader policy of social media companies is backward. Whatever it is, there should be more Rules are short for world leaders on Facebook and Twitter, he said.
Regarding this question, the oversight body says that it can reset an important global policy.
What about other billions of people? Makes facebook every year Billions Decisions on people’s positions, but the oversight board will only consider dozens of high-profile disputes.
Compared to Mr. Trump, the board will not help the millions of people who have silenced or failed to make their voices due to a decision made by Facebook.
This includes Businesses And The people Whose Facebook accounts are locked and no one in the company can be noticed. A teenager who is harassed on Facebook and has no one to intervene on her behalf to leave the site. And the Rohingya who were killed in their homes cannot appeal to this board.
The board’s decision on Mr. Trump may influence how online forums treat world leaders. But the fact is that for most Facebook users, the company is the final and final word that people may or may not say. And Facebook faces little accountability for the results.