Four months after the suspension of his account, will Donald Trump return to Facebook? The verdict of the social media giant’s supervisory board, scheduled for Wednesday around 1:00 p.m. GMT, is expected to be a major moment in the history of platforms and their political role.
“The board’s reasoning may well help shape the rules of Facebook and other digital networks on how to treat political leaders and other figures in the future,” said Elizabeth Renieris, director of the ethics division. technologies at Notre Dame University.
Facebook banned the former US president from its platform the day after the invasion of Congress in January by a crowd of his supporters, during the certification of the victory of Joe Biden in the election of November 2020.
The Californian group had until then tolerated many messages from the Republican billionaire deemed problematic by large sections of society, and even internally.
But on January 7, the network suspended “until further notice” the losing candidate for violating its rules on incitement to violence, including in a video where he expressed his support for the rioters.
At the end of January, Facebook turned to its supervisory board to finally settle this case.
– From 89 to 2 million subscribers –
The company is funding this sort of independent “supreme court” to the tune of $ 130 million, made up of 20 international members including journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders and former political leaders.
At the beginning of the year, it delivered its first verdicts (binding) and issued a series of recommendations (non-binding).
For Donald Trump, faced with 9,000 responses to a call for public comment, she gave herself more time. If she cancels the suspension, Facebook will have seven days to restore access to her account.
Other platforms took similar action after the Capitol invasion.
YouTube waits until “the risk of violence decreases” before allowing the former president to repost videos on his channel.
Twitter – his former favorite network with nearly 89 million subscribers – suspended his account irrevocably, even though Jack Dorsey, the founder of the network, had lamented a “failure to promote healthy conversation.”
The former head of state has found refuge on the openly conservative and conspiratorial Gab network, where he is followed by 2 million people and continues to claim without evidence that the election was rigged.
His advisor Jason Miller had promised that Donald Trump would launch his own platform with “tens of millions of subscribers”. But for now this is only a blog added to his site on Tuesday, with the same posts as on Gab.
– Malaise –
Fans of the billionaire accuse Facebook of censorship. Those in favor of maintaining the status quo consider that the suspension of the billionaire’s account should have taken place much earlier.
“He was using Facebook and other platforms to spread clearly false messages about electoral processes, very effectively undermining American democracy,” recalls Samuel Woolley of the University of Texas School of Journalism.
The researcher also mentions the frequent attacks against his detractors, “considered by his subscribers as indications that they too could troll and harass these people”.
Mr. Trump’s digital ostracization has been globally welcomed by elected Democrats and American civil society.
But in Europe it has drawn criticism from associations and leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, worried about the power of technology companies over freedom of expression.
“Whatever the verdict, we should be uncomfortable with the idea that decisions of this nature are made by unelected, unaccountable companies and by the inspectors they have chosen, ”concludes Elizabeth Renieris.
Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr.
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