Facebook Oversight Board member criticizes indefinite Trump ban: 'Their rules are in shambles'
A member of Facebook's Oversight Board criticized the social media platform in the wake of its indefinite ban on former President Donald Trump, saying Facebooks rules are in "shambles."
"We gave them a certain amount of time to get their house in order," Michael McConnell, a former federal juge, told "Fox News Sunday." "They needed some time because their rules are a shambles. They are not transparent. They are unclear. They are internally inconsistent. So we made a series of recommendations about how to make their rules clearer and more consistent."
The Oversight Board upheld Facebook's current ban on Trump for his posts on Jan. 6, with some caveats.
"Mr. Trump is subject to the same rules on Facebook as everyone else, and the Oversight Board held that this was in fact a violation and thus Facebook was justified in taking them down," McConnell said. "What we did say, though, was that they were not justified in taking him down indefinitely, that they did not provide any reasons for that, that is not a provision in their rules. That was wrong."
McConnell said Facebook "exercises too much power."
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"What we are trying to do is bring some of the most important principles of the First Amendment, of free expression law globally, into this operation. Facebook exercises too much power. They are arbitrary. They are inconsistent. And it is the job of the Oversight Board to try to bring some discipline to that process," he said.
Republicans reacted to news that Trump's ban was upheld by threatening to further regulate Facebook and other tech companies.
"It’s, of course, up to Congress to decide what the antitrust laws are gonna be. This is not a First Amendment issue," McConnell said. "No judge in the country would hold that Mr. Trump's free speech rights were violated."
"Mr. Trump is the one who issued those inflammatory posts at the very time when rioters were invading the Congress and shutting down the constitutionally prescribed process for counting electoral votes. He issued those posts. He is responsible for doing that. He bears responsibility for his own situation. He put himself in this bed, and he can sleep in it," he continued.
Facebook's Oversight Board on Wednesday upheld Trump's ban from Facebook and Instagram, but said it was "not appropriate" to impose the "indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension."
"The Board has upheld Facebook’s decision on January 7, 2021, to restrict then-President Donald Trump’s access to posting content on his Facebook page and Instagram account," the board said in a statement.
The board gave Facebook six months to review the "arbitrary" indefinite ban, saying in a tweet that the company "violated its own rules."
Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.