Were you surprised when you heard that Facebook decided to uphold their ban on Donald Trump? Yeah, me neither. The Facebook Oversight Board, also known as the “Supreme Court” of Facebook, decided to extend the ban for another six months, but they tried to make themselves look as neutral as possible while doing it. This narrative of neutrality is meant to give legitimacy to their rulings just like the alleged neutrality of Facebook fact-checkers is supposed to give legitimacy to the left-wing groups who generate their decisions. Obviously, it’s all a farce.
According to the Oversight Board, “Mr. Trump’s posts during the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 violated Facebook’s rules, encouraging and legitimizing violence.” That quote should tell you all you need to know about the Board’s alleged neutrality. Anyone can watch exactly what President Trump said on January 6. He called only for peaceful demonstration. Never once did he encourage violence. If everyone who ever said that we should fight for what we believe in was kicked off of Facebook, there wouldn’t be a single politician left on the platform, which might not be such a bad idea after all.
All jokes aside, Big Tech giants like Facebook tout themselves as being bastions of free speech. Not only does that give them a strong public image, but it also protects them from criminal and civil liability for what is put on their platform, similar to the way public utilities operate. For instance, if someone sets up a drug deal over the phone, the police do not charge the phone company with a crime. The phone company merely provides the service. Similarly, Facebook argues that they should not be held liable for illegal content on their platform because they cannot control what people post. Yet, they also want to curate content by blocking conservative posts and banning conservative users.
This double-standard can’t protect Big Tech forever. Americans should immediately revoke the Section 230 protections shielding social media giants from liability. If they want to remove conservative content, they should be held liable for not removing illegal content too.