Angelo Carusone speaks to BBC Newsnight about Facebook's “oversight board” decision on Trump

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Citation From the May 6, 2021, edition of BBC's Newsnight

JAMES CLAYTON: Trump's use of social media is almost impossible to disentangle with Trumpism itself. It was his way of communicating directly with Americans, bypassing the mainstream media that he so loathed. But did he also use that platform to radicalize? Were his posts in part responsible for these deadly riots?

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg thought Trump's posts could lead to further violence and suspended Donald Trump indefinitely the day after the riots. Twitter went one step further and banned Mr. Trump forever. He will never be allowed back onto that platform. However, Facebook asked its decision to be reviewed by its newly formed oversight board, which it claims is independent. It is designed to make difficult moderation decisions and their decision today was complex. It said that the oversight board has upheld Facebook's decision to suspend Mr. Trump's access to post content on Facebook and Instagram. However, it also said that Facebook couldn't ban Trump indefinitely. The company must reassess this penalty within six months of this decision.

The judgment does leave a way back for Trump on Facebook, but for now, the door is firmly closed and that is a huge problem for Donald Trump and his hopes of a political return. In a statement, the former president's lashed out saying Facebook was an embarrassment to our country and they and other social media companies must pay a political price. Facebook has been essential to Mr. Trump, his campaign used it to raise money and microtarget voters.

ANGELO CARUSONE (PRESIDENT, MEDIA MATTERS): He spent more than $200 million between his campaign and his PAC on Facebook advertising. So it’s not just an opinion that Facebook was an essential part of his political power. It was actually one of the few places where he was putting his money where his mouth was.