This week saw Facebook’s Oversight Board uphold its ban on Donald Trump, who is no longer allowed to use their platform. This includes his use of both Facebook and Instagram. Both of these websites are owned by Mark Zuckerberg, who has been a controversial figure over the years due to his seemingly strict policies on freedom of speech. This comes after Trump was banned from Twitter earlier this year in January.
After originally being banned back four months ago, the ex-President is still barred and this did not go down well with various Republican figures, who blasted the network. Political commentator Ben Shapiro labeled the decision “absurd.”, whilst Ted Cruz added, “Disgraceful. For every liberal celebrating Trump’s social media ban, if the Big Tech oligarchs can muzzle the former President, what’s to stop them from silencing you?”
Senator Rick Scott also gave his opinion saying, “Big tech thinks it can control everything. Companies that censor Americans while giving brutal dictators a pass should not have free rein over your personal data to use for their benefit. I introduced the DATA Act to hold big tech accountable.” With this said, there is a clear concern among key Republicans that big tech is growing too powerful and is attacking people’s freedom of expression. It could be argued that by blocking Trump from mainstream social media, he no longer has a voice to give his thoughts. Ironically, it was social media that Trump used to come to power, which would simply not be possible under today’s standards and censorship found on these platforms.
However, Trump’s former Chief Of Staff, Mark Meadows went one further and added “The days of Facebook enjoying a Wild West kind of regulatory environment are over.” This brings an element of hope that something which actually get done about these bans. Whilst some may state that Facebook is well within its rights to ban who it wants, it is also becoming evidently more clear that Facebook is also capable of manipulating public opinion by censoring who it likes. In doing this, it is an example of how the media can set agendas and push certain narratives without reply. Perhaps even bigger than Trump, you could argue this is an example of a corporation trying its best to destroy democracy.