Co-chair of Facebook's Oversight Board said Facebook 'exercises too much power' in applying its rules
- The co-chair of Facebook's Oversight board criticised Facebook for wielding "too much power".
- Michael McConnell called Facebook's rules a "shambles," "unclear," and "inconsistent".
- The board last week ruled to keep Trump's account suspended but said an indefinite ban wasn't appropriate.
- For more stories visit Business Insider.
Michael McConnell, co-chair of the Facebook Oversight Board, said on Sunday the social media site "exercises too much power" as it decides on whether to indefinitely ban former President Donald Trump's account.
The company's independent board ruled on Wednesday to keep Trump's account suspended, but it said an indefinite ban would be "indeterminate and standardless." Facebook must review its decision within six months, the Oversight Board said.
Trump was suspended from the platform after being accused of inciting an insurrection of the deadly Capitol siege on January 6.
McConnell said in a Fox News interview on Sunday that Trump's social media posts in the run-up to the US Capitol riots were a "plain violation of Facebook's rules against praising dangerous individuals and organizations at a time of violence."
Trump posted baseless claims of election fraud on Twitter on January 6, which led to pro-Trump rioters breaking into the US Capitol. He finally told the rioters to "go home," adding "we love you, you are very special."
McConnell said the former president 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."
The board was trying to bring principles of the First Amendment into the decision of banning Trump's Facebook account, he said.
But the board said on Wednesday it was "not appropriate" to permanently suspend the former president's account.
Facebook wasn't "justified in taking him down indefinitely," McConnell said. "They did not provide any reasons for that, that is not a provision in their rules. That was wrong."
Facebook needed time to weigh up its final decision because, in McConnell's view, "their rules are a shambles."
He went on to say Facebook's content moderation rules "are not transparent, they are unclear, they are internally inconsistent."
The board has made recommendations to Facebook about how to make its content moderation rules more transparent and consistent, according to McConnell.
"Facebook exercises too much power. They are arbitrary. They are inconsistent. And it is the job of the Oversight Board to try to bring some discipline to that process," he said.
Facebook launched its independent Oversight Board late last year in an effort to give more attention and resources to its content-moderation decisions. Though Facebook said the board - dubbed Facebook's "Supreme Court" - is independent, the company has final discretion in deciding whether each ruling will apply only to the particular post in question or whether it will serve as precedent for similar content.
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