For Immediate Release
February 12, 2021
Thousands urge Facebook Oversight Board to permanently ban Donald Trump
As the Oversight Board’s public comment period closes today, groups submit public comments from tens of thousands of people around the globe.
Today marks the last day when members of the public can submit comments to the Facebook Oversight Board about its impending decision on whether the social media platform will continue to ban Donald Trump. Tens of thousands of comments are being submitted by supporters of grassroots groups who emphasize that Trump is a threat to the safety of the American people and democracy.
The Facebook Oversight Board, a non-elected body that was created by Facebook’s leadership, will issue its decision on the Trump ban soon after the comment period closes. Trump was banned indefinitely from the platform for posts in which he condoned the January 6th attack on the US Capitol, but Facebook’s leaders had second thoughts and asked the Oversight Board to review their decision.
“As a human rights organization, we’re extremely concerned that, if allowed back on Facebook, Donald Trump will again use the platform to promote violence and hatred that will translate into real-world harms,” said Ted Lewis, co-director of San Francisco-based Global Exchange. Global Exchange and Media Alliance, a San Francisco Bay Area media accountability organization, joined with fed-up Facebook users to form a new Facebook Users Union.
“Today we will submit more than 40,000 signatures to the Facebook Oversight Board from people around the world who are urging the board to take a stand against all world leaders—from Myanmar to India to the United States—who have violated Facebook’s community standards and used the platform to foment hate and incite violence,” said Tracy Rosenberg, the executive director of Media Alliance.
The national pro-democracy organization Common Cause will submit over 23,000 signatures today from its members who are demanding Donald Trump be permanently banned from Facebook. “Donald Trump repeatedly abused his wide reach on social media to spread baseless — and as we saw on January 6th, dangerous — lies about our election. He flagrantly violated Facebook’s civic integrity rules,” Common Cause’s members say in their public comments to the board.
Common Cause, Global Exchange, and Media Alliance, in collaboration with Free Press, Ultraviolet, and other organizations that are concerned about the impact of Big Tech on democracy and civil society organized a tweetstorm on Wednesday directed at the Oversight Board and its members. “How many times does Donald Trump get to incite violence and stoke hatred on Facebook before you decide he’s a threat to the safety of the American people? Do we need to suffer through another attack like the one on January 6th? #BanTrumpOnFacebook,” read one of the tweets posted by Voto Latino.
“Facebook has repeatedly refused to hold Trump to any standard, allowing him to exploit its platform to spread disinformation, amplify hate speech, and incite violence,” said Yosef Getachew, director of media and democracy program at Common Cause. “Rather than enforce its community standards, Facebook is irresponsibly hiding behind an Oversight Board to make a decision that has serious implications on our democracy. Our members have spoken loud and clear – Facebook must consistently enforce and strengthen its policies to hold violators accountable.”
Immediately after the January 6th mob attack on the US Capitol. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told numerous media outlets that the attack had not been organized on Facebook. But, since then, both the Tech Transparency Project and a Forbes analysis of US Department of Justice files have found otherwise.
Andrea Buffa, 510-325-3653, firstname.lastname@example.org