Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Trump’s suspension from Facebook. It was initially a temporary suspension, but Facebook said that the decision would be sent to the Oversight Board two weeks later. “We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our during this period are simply too great,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in January. Facebook’s VP of Global Affairs Nick Clegg, a former British politician, expressed hope that the board would back the company’s conclusions, calling Trump’s suspension an “unprecedented set of events which called for unprecedented action.”
Trump inflamed tensions andon January 6, but that incident wasn’t without precedent. In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed by Minneapolis police, President Trump ominously declared on social media, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” a threat of imminent violence , prompting internal protests at the company.
The former president skirted or crossed the line withover his four years in office. Still, the platform stood steadfastly behind a maxim that all speech was a good speech, even as other social networks grew more squeamish. In a dramatic address in late 2019, Zuckerberg evoked Martin Luther King Jr. to defend Facebook’s anything-goes approach. “In times of social turmoil, our impulse is often to on free expression,” Zuckerberg said. “We want the progress that comes from free expression, but not the tension.”
A little over a year later, with all of Facebook’s peers doing the same and Trump leaving office, Zuckerberg wouldfrom his grand free speech declarations. In 2019 and well into 2020, , conspiracies, and extremism. The social network hosted thousands of and a sea of content amplifying QAnon, which moved from a fringe belief on the margins to a mainstream political phenomenon through Facebook. Those same forces for a day of violence that Facebook executives characterized as spontaneous, even though it had been festering openly on the platform for months.