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Facebook is taking a closer look at its rules after Trump decision

Facebook is taking a closer look at its rules after Trump decision


Angela Lang/CNET

Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer said Tuesday that the social media giant will know in the coming weeks and months what the “long term plan” is around how it’ll handle the indefinite suspension of former US President Donald Trump from its platform.

Last week, an independent board tasked with reviewing some of Facebook’s toughest content decisions upheld the social network’s move to suspend Trump in January from Facebook and its photo service, Instagram. Facebook, like other social media sites such as Twitter, booted Trump from its platform because of concerns that his remarks could provoke more violence in the wake of the deadly US Capitol Hill riot. But the oversight board, which was funded and created by Facebook, also left it up to the company to decide how long it would keep Trump’s suspension in place. The board also pointed out that Facebook’s content rules never describe an “indefinite suspension” as a penalty even though that was applied to Trump’s page and Instagram account.

“That’s a lot of what we’re trying to figure out, is laying that sort of rules and guidelines for, you know, what is allowed and isn’t allowed and making that clear wherever possible,” Schroepfer said at The Wall Street Journal’s virtual Future of Everything Festival on Tuesday.

Facebook’s next move is being highly watched because of its impact on other political leaders who use the platform. In his remarks, Schroepfer acknowledged that content moderation decisions are challenging. 

“Where is the line between allowing them to talk to the citizens and doing harm?” he said, referring to the use of the platform by heads of state. “This is … not a simple problem.”

Facebook said last week that Trump’s accounts will remain suspended as it reviews the oversight’s board decision and recommendations.

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