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Facebook Turns on Trump, Is That a Problem?

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Following surge in reports of violent content ahead of Capitol attack, Facebook executives took their most aggressive steps yet to rein in the president and his supporters.

The WSJ reports Facebook Turned on Trump After Warnings That ‘Business as Usual Isn’t Working’


  1. As footage of a pro-Trump mob ransacking the U.S. Capitol streamed from Washington, D.C., last Wednesday, Facebook Inc.’s data scientists and executives saw warning signs of further trouble.
  2. User reports of violent content jumped more than 10-fold from the morning, A tracker for user reports of false news surged to nearly 40,000 reports an hour, about four times recent daily peaks.
  3. Two of Mr. Trump’s posts came down and Facebook privately classified the U.S. as a “temporary high-risk location” for political violence.
  4. Facebook banned Trump for 24 hours.
  5. Thursday, Mr. Zuckerberg said Facebook would extend its ban of Mr. Trump through at least the inauguration. Later that morning it deleted one of the most active pro-Trump political groups on Facebook, the #WalkAway Campaign, which was cited repeatedly for breaking Facebook’s rules last year but never taken down.
  6. Monday, Facebook said it would prohibit all content containing the phrase “stop the steal”.

Mark Zuckerberg Statement

Here is a Statement by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO.

Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies. We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech. But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.

We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.

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Where's the Line?

That's the question of the day. Implicit in the question is whether there should be a line at all.

Freedom of Speech

Some aspects of the discussion are not really about freedom of speech or censorship in the first place. Companies have the right to decide their own practices and own lines.

What's the remedy?

Allow people to propose violence, ignore the threats, then prosecute after many people are killed.