Facebook’s Oversight Board announced today that the company’s ban on Donald Trump’s account following the violence and riots in the nation’s Capitol was justified, “At the time of Mr. Trump’s posts, there was a clear, immediate risk of harm and his words of support for those involved in the riots legitimized their violent actions,” the Oversight Board explained. “Given the seriousness of the violations and the ongoing risk of violence, Facebook was justified in suspending Mr. Trump’s accounts.”
Nevertheless, the panel also determined that the company’s response to impose an indefinite ban was “indeterminate and standardless” and added that Facebook had six months to either restore Trump’s account, make his suspension permanent, or suspend him for a specific period of time.
They said the penalty should be consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of the platform.
The controversial matter is one of the reasons the Texas Senate recently passed a bill regarding the capacity of social media platforms to silence or censor users.
Senate Bill 12, authored by state Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) would prohibit social media companies with at least 100 million monthly users from blocking, banning, demonetizing, or discriminating against a user based on their viewpoint or their location within Texas.
The bill awaits in the State Affairs committee right now, and if it’s confirmed it will also require social media companies to disclose their content moderation policies, publish regular reports about the content they remove, and create an appeals process for user content that has been taken down.
Additionally, it allows the Texas attorney general to sue any company that violates a provision of the bill.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced his support for the measure back in March and stated that social media companies are leading a “dangerous movement” to “silence conservative ideas [and] religious beliefs.”
“They are controlling the flow of information — and sometimes denying the flow of information,” Abbott said. “And they are being in the position where they’re choosing which viewpoints are going to be allowed to be presented. Texas is taking a stand against big tech political censorship. We’re not going to allow it in the Lone Star State.”