Facebook rules need fixing, says panel’s co-chair

Published May 10, 2021
In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for social media giant Facebook, appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square. — AP/File Photo
In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for social media giant Facebook, appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square. — AP/File Photo

WASHINGTON: Donald Trump encouraged the Capitol rioters and so earned his Facebook ban, but the social media giant’s rules are in “shambles” and need fixing, the co-chair of the network’s oversight panel said on Sunday.

The panel agreed just days ago that Facebook was right to oust the ex-US president for his comments regarding the deadly Jan 6 rampage, though it sidestepped an overall decision on whether he will ever be allowed back.

“He issued these statements which were just egging on -- with perfunctory asking for peace -- but mostly he was just egging them on to continue,” oversight body co-chair Michael McConnell told Fox News.

Trump was suspended from Facebook and Instagram after posting a video during the attack by his fired-up supporters challenging his election loss, in which he told them: “We love you, you’re very special.”

“He (Trump) bears responsibility for his own situation. He put himself in this bed and he can sleep in it,” McConnell added.

However, the panel gave the company six months to justify why his ban should be permanent, leaving a grenade in Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s lap on the issue of free speech, and spotlighting weaknesses in the platform’s plan for self-regulation.

“We gave them (Facebook) a certain amount of time to get... their house in order,” McConnell said. “They needed some time because their rules are shambles... They are unclear, they are internally inconsistent.”

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2021

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