In the wake of this month’s violent insurrection at the US Capitol, Facebook suspended the account of the inciter-in-chief Donald Trump. On January 7, citing the danger that the president’s posts might incite further violence, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company would keep Trump off the platform “indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.” (Twitter has banned Trump permanently.)
Now that that transition is official, Facebook has a decision to make—whether or not to allow the ex-president his bullhorn. But today, Facebook is announcing that it won’t make that decision itself. Earlier this morning, it asked the Oversight Board it created to make the call on whether or not Trump is welcomed back on Facebook.
The Oversight Board is an independent entity funded by Facebook. Three years in the making, it has yet to issue its first decision—but Facebook is expecting rulings in six cases that the board has been mulling over since it finally began operating this fall. (The Trump decision will be the seventh ruling.)
Isn’t Zuckerberg’s job, as CEO, to make the most difficult, company-defining decisions at Facebook? Why would someone want to give themself less control of their company? This entire oversight board just seems cowardly and lazy. You shouldn’t get to be paid a CEO salary and then point to another person and say, “That was their decision, not mine!” Where does the buck stop at Facebook?
This reminds me of the Facebook advertiser boycott over the summer (remember that?) when Kara Swisher wrote in the Times:
In this, Mr. Zuckerberg is serving up a rancid meal that he says he’s not comfortable cooking himself, even as his hands control every aspect of the operation. Which is why I say to him and every executive at Facebook: You cannot hold on to such enormous power and avoid responsibility when things get tough.