Facebook suspending Donald Trump’s account: What are the lessons learned?


The Alliance for Healthy Infosphere responded to Facebook Oversight Board’s call for public comments on the case of Facebook’s indefinite suspension of Donald Trump’s account. The Alliance argues that:

  • Facebook’s decision to suspend the account of Donald Trump was right and proportionate to the situation.
  • The prolongation of the suspension to an indefinite period, however, had no sufficient ground in Facebook’s own rules.
  • The assessment of “off-Facebook” context when dealing with account suspension or content removal due to violation of community standards is constantly failing because of insufficient capacities for proper evaluation.
  • The appeal mechanism for users against Facebook’s decisions on content removal or account suspension is insufficient, as users often cannot receive proper reasoning behind Facebook’s decisions.

And recommends to:

  1. Provide clear publicly accessible criteria and processes for suspension of accounts, including a number of violations and their consequences.
  2. Robustly increase the number of people responsible for assessing off-Facebook context and newsworthiness of content.
  3. Create teams with proper language skills and knowledge of political/social background for each country/area where Facebook operates.
  4. Strengthen and expand the appeal mechanism by providing users elaborate reasoning behind each decision and an opportunity to escalate their case to a human analyst.
  5. Expand the Oversight Board’s competence in assessing cases when Facebook refused to remove content/account.

Read more in our position paper below.