After the Facebook oversight board recently overturned four cases deemed a violation of the company’s policy, former U.S. Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker remains skeptical of the body’s independence.
“Well, I know that this board was hand-selected by Facebook. And so to suggest that it’s independent of Facebook, I think would, you know, not pass the smell test,” Whitaker told FOX Business’ “Mornings with Maria” on Friday.
Whitaker said that Facebook’s oversight board has some responsibility to try to apply freedom of speech values when reviewing violations.
Whitaker went on to say, “And the further it gets away, the more speech that is suppressed, the more content that is taken down and the more, you know, sort of companies that are de-platformed and lose large followings, for example, like President Trump’s Facebook page, I think this is going to really test the independence of this board because some of these actions can’t be justified and ultimately are going to have to be removed.”
Facebook‘s oversight board, which reviews account removals, plans to review the company’s decision to indefinitely suspend former President Donald Trump‘s account and determine whether or not to uphold the ban.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Jan. 7 announced the company blocked Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely for “at least” two weeks “until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”
“Today, Facebook is referring its decision to indefinitely suspend former US President Donald Trump’s access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts to the independent Oversight Board,” Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg said in a Wednesday statement.
Twitter permanently suspended Trump’s personal account on Jan. 8 following the riots “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey later defended the company’s decision, saying in a tweet thread that “offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real” while acknowledging that Twitter’s power in the “global public conversation” has set a “dangerous” precedent.
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.