After last weeks’ announcement from Facebook that the social media giant will keep their ban of former President Donald Trump in place for 6 more months before another review, in fear that he might incite violence similar to that of the January 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol Building, Republicans were in full-on martyr mode, claiming that Trump’s first amendment rights are being violated.
The Republican National Committee tweeted a response to the Facebook news, claiming that the company is denying the former President his constitutional right to free speech.
Critics of the RNC’s were quick to point out that as a major national political party, they should be expected to have a better understanding of the constitution:
Last week, Michael McConnell, co-chair of the Facebook Oversight Board, defended the board’s Wednesday recommendation for the company to continue the suspension of Trump’s account over statements he made on the platform in the aftermath of the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6.
“This is a plain violation of Facebook’s rules against praising dangerous individuals and organizations at a time of violence. Mr. Trump is subject to the same rules on Facebook as everyone else and the oversight board held that this was in fact a violation, and thus Facebook was justified in taking them down.”
McConnell did however note that they also found Facebook’s rules are in “shambles” and recommended that the work towards better transparency:
“They needed some time because their rules are shambles, they are not transparent, they are unclear, they are internally inconsistent….we gave a series of recommendations about how to make their rules clearer and more consistent.”
McConnell was also asked if the decision affects Trump’s first amendment rights, to which he responded that Facebook is a private company so it does not:
“Private companies are not bound by the first amendment, so he has no first amendment rights, he’s a customer…He issued those posts, he is responsible for doing that, he bears a responsibility for his own situation, he put himself in this bed, and he can sleep in it.”
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