Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook.AFP
Facebook's Advisory Board, that institution that Mark Zuckerberg originally described as his Superior Court, reviews highly iconic cases to determine whether the company's decisions have been made in accordance with established values.
In its 10th case, the council has ratified a decision that even Chancellor Angela Merkel called "problematic": suspend Donald Trump's accounts after the assault on the US Capitol.
"The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to boycott the peaceful and legitimate transition of power to his chosen successor, Joe Biden," Zuckerberg explained from the platform on January 7, 2021. It seems like a logical decision, derived from an obvious infraction.
It is actually the unilateral and arbitrary decision of a 36-year-old mogul to block the US president-elect on the same platform that helped him come to power.
Facebook's oversight council rules in favor of keeping Trump's account suspended
To make a decision based on the set values, you need to set the values. The ones on Facebook are more appropriate for a Miss Universe speech than for a High Court: “Be bold, focus on impact; move fast, be open and build social value ”. In order to break the rules, there must be rules and they must be clear, precise and the same for everyone. Those of Facebook say that the content must be authentic, that it cannot degrade, intimidate, exclude or silence others or violate the privacy of others. They say they will remove "content that extols violence or celebrates the suffering or humiliation of other people." Unless it is "newsworthy and relevant to the public." It was the case of Donald Trump.
Until January 7, 2021, the president had used the platform to deny the existence of climate change and the severity of covid-19, to call Mexicans rapists and criminals, to question the legitimacy of voting by mail, to demotivate the Latino vote, to encourage violence against African Americans during the demonstrations for the murder of George Floyd. To accuse the Democratic Party of having stolen the elections and ask the vice president to annul the electoral result. He campaigned for dehumanization against migrants from Central America, advertisements against Antifa sprinkled with Nazi symbolism, degrading, miserable and macho attacks against his opponents, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. In all these cases, the public interest had prevailed over the social.
"It is not our job to intervene when politicians speak," explained Vice President of Global Affairs and Communication, Nick Clegg, at the 2019 Atlantic Festival in Washington. - We do not submit politicians' speech to our independent verifiers and we allow it as a general rule even when it violates our content standards ”. He didn't mention an important detail: Political campaigns account for more than 3% of Facebook revenue in the US, and Trump campaigned more on Facebook than anywhere else.
On Election Day, Trump had spent more than $ 90 million on his Facebook campaign.
And Zuckerberg had repeated over and over again that platforms could not exercise the power to silence a democratically elected leader.
He only changed his mind when Trump had burned his chances of returning to politics, exercising a power that in a democracy only judges have, in the same arbitrary and opaque way with which he defines values or implements norms.
The council that now validates Zuckerberg's decision is the latest acquisition in a parody of justice constructed to disguise a power without democracy that reserves all rights without assuming any responsibility.
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