Politico

Facebook VP defends Trump suspension as reasonable and proportionate


Defending Facebook’s latest ruling on the former president, executive Nick Clegg said Sunday that the two-year suspension of Donald Trump reflected improved processes.

“Our job is not to take the decisions with an eye to, you know, which side of the political aisle is going to agree or disagree more with us, but just to do so in a way that is fair, transparent and proportionate,” said Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs.

Facebook suspended Trump indefinitely after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Last week, the social media giant announced he was suspended for two years from the date of the initial suspension, with the possibility of having his right to post on Facebook restored at that point.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Clegg said an “independent oversight board” concluded that Facebook was fully within its rights in barring Trump on Jan. 7 but there were problems with the way it was done.

According to Clegg, the oversight board said: “Facebook was right to suspend Donald Trump because of the exceptional, very grave circumstances in early January on the Capitol. But that Facebook was wrong to do so in an indefinite way, an open-ended way, and that we needed to come up with clearer due process, clearer standards, clearer penalties, which we’ve now done. We’ve now set out what penalties would apply to what I hope will remain these very rare cases.”

Clegg added: “We do hope, though, that reasonable observers will believe that we are acting as reasonably and proportionately as we can in these — in these very difficult circumstances.”

Prompted by Stephanopoulos’ question about “a bright red line,” Clegg said a key factor in deciding if someone should be banned is whether they are encouraging violence.

“One of the brightest of those red lines,” Clegg said, “as you just implied, is that you cannot — it doesn’t matter who you are, you can be the pope, the queen of England, the president of the United States, you cannot use our services, and I hope most people would think this is reasonable, to aid, abet, foment, or praise acts of violence. And that — and that I hope most people would agree is something that we just don’t want on social media.”

For his part, Trump on Saturday was critical of Facebook in a speech in North Carolina.

“They say they may allow me back in two years. No, I’m not — I’m not too interested in that. They may allow me back in two years,” he said, adding about Facebook: “We got to stop that. We can’t let it happen. So unfair.”

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