Four months after his ouster from Facebook and Instagram, former President Donald Trump will learn on Wednesday whether he can reconnect with tens of millions of followers or be permanently excluded from both social media platforms.
A return to Facebook would be a boon for awareness and fundraising if Trump runs for president again in 2024. In 2016 and 2020, Trump took to Facebook to energize his base and raise funds for his campaign. .
Regardless of what Facebook’s quasi-independent Supervisory Board decides, it’s sure to unleash a wave of fury, whether it’s from the Tories who accused the nation’s top tech companies of censoring Trump or from the Liberals who say that the former president’s electoral lies still pose a dangerous threat. .
“From Twitter’s pre-election decision to bury the New York Post article on Hunter Biden, to then-President Donald Trump’s post-election bans, to Speaking’s deplatformance, tech companies are showing strength as the unelected arbiter of what Americans can – and I can’t – see, “wrote Douglas Blair, administrative assistant for communications at the Heritage Foundation last month.
The conservative group said on Tuesday it rejected the six-figure donations from Facebook and Google in 2020 and pledged to no longer accept financial support from big tech companies “as long as they continue to remove the dots. conservative view “.
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Prior to the Facebook Supervisory Board’s determination, NAACP National Chairman Derrick Johnson called Trump “one of the greatest threats to American democracy in modern history.”
“We pushed the Facebook Supervisory Board to do what is right to protect the people and the country the former president was putting at risk,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “We will be watching the announcement of the decision tomorrow morning. Facebook has the opportunity to end the era in which it fuels extremism, division and insurgency.”
Observers who have closely followed previous decisions of the Supervisory Board say it is quite possible that he will vote in favor of Trump.
Trump lost his direct connection to his supporters when he was kicked from major social media platforms in the country following the attack on Capitol Hill. Rather, he relied on a patchwork of press releases and personal messages, TV interviews, emails and automated calls to reach supporters.
He also talked about starting his own social media platform. On Tuesday, he launched a web page, “From Donald J. Trump’s Office,” which will eventually allow him to be in direct contact with his supporters.
Trump’s ban is the most important case to date for the Supervisory Board, with far-reaching political implications for the nation. The board’s decision could also influence how other social media platforms handle the discourse of world leaders in the future.
Facebook froze Trump’s accounts following the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill. At the time, Facebook said two posts praised the attack in violation of company rules.
Zuckerberg accused Trump of attempting to “undermine the peaceful and legal transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden” and said the suspension the day after the storming of Capitol Hill by Trump supporters was necessary to reduce the risk of violence until Biden’s inauguration. The company then returned the final decision on Trump’s suspension to its supervisory board.
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A decision was expected by April 20, but council extended the 90-day deadline, citing the high volume of public comment. The board received thousands of comments during the public participation period and an appeal from the former president himself.
YouTube and other social media companies have also suspended Trump’s account indefinitely. Snapchat and Twitter have permanently banned Trump. Trump had more than 88 million Twitter followers when his account was deleted.
His YouTube account is still active, but Trump cannot upload new videos. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said in March that Trump’s ban would be lifted “when we determine the risk of violence has decreased.”
Trump, who lost his re-election candidacy six months ago, continues to claim electoral fraud. “The fraudulent presidential election of 2020 will, from this day forward, be known as THE BIG LIE!” Trump said in a statement Tuesday.
“We must remain concerned that decisions of this nature are made by unelected and unaccountable corporations and their self-appointed reviewers,” said Elizabeth Renieris, founding director of the Notre Dame-IBM Technology Ethics Lab at the University. of Notre Dame. .