Facebook banned President Donald J. Trump after declaring the President’s statements about the 2020 election and the January 6th incursion at the U.S. Capitol as a danger to its users. On Wednesday, the Facebook Oversight Board will announce their decision on whether to overturn the ban or to continue to enforce it.
Trump’s suspension began on January 7th, just one day after the U.S. Capitol incursion.
In the weeks after the banning of Trump, Facebook and other social media providers began targeting conservative media outlets, conservative talk show hosts and even other elected Republicans. Facebook has been shadow banning and limiting the reach of Republican and conservative voices since before the 2020 election cycle.
Republicans in nearly a dozen states have since introduced legislation that will allow users of social media platforms to file lawsuits if they feel they have been silenced for their religious or political views. Currently, Facebook is protected from litigation by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Facebook has been hiding behind Section 230 which shields internet service providers from lawsuits against them for actions and comments made by users of the service.
Section 230 states that no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected; or any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material described in paragraph
President Trump signed an executive order last May to prevent censorship on Facebook and other social media platforms.
“In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to handpick the speech that Americans may access and convey on the internet. This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic. When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power. They cease functioning as passive bulletin boards, and ought to be viewed and treated as content creators,” his executive order reads. “witter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube wield immense, if not unprecedented, power to shape the interpretation of public events; to censor, delete, or disappear information; and to control what people see or do not see.”