Updated May 6, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on the Facebook Oversight Board decision on Trump

On Thursday, May 6, Axios co-founder Mike Allen and media reporter Sara Fischer went behind the scenes of the Facebook Oversight Board's decision to uphold the suspension of former President Trump’s accounts on the platform, featuring Cato Institute vice president John Samples and former Prime Minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

John Samples unpacked the equal application of content moderation, the deliberation of the board, and Facebook's response to the decision.

  • How the board considered their decision: "This is not a decision about Donald Trump, but rather a decision about Facebook. Our role at Facebook is to act as an oversight board. That is, we look at how Facebook does its content moderation, how it enforces its rules."
  • On content moderation applying to all users: "There's a recognition in the decision that the same set of rules should apply to ordinary users and leaders... I think there was a strong sense that we don't want special exceptions for powerful people, that Facebook needs to be in a position where they can say no to the powerful."

Helle Thorning-Schmidt discussed free speech, the material that the board took into consideration, and their feelings on the final decision.

  • On what Facebook needs with regards to their content moderation policy: "They need more consistency. I don't think they need more rules...What [the Facebook Oversight Board] wants to get rid of is the lack of transparency and also this arbitrary decision-making."
  • On the role of the Facebook Oversight Board: "We felt it was a bit lazy of Facebook to send [this decision] over to us...We are not here to lift responsibility off Facebook. We're here to be independent, to look at Facebook's own rules, to ask whether they are following their own rules with human rights standards."
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