Last week, Facebook finally made a decision in the case of former president Donald Trump, ruling that he will be banned from the platform until 2023. The decision obviously set off a firestorm of criticism from all political sides, forcing Facebook to defend itself. The company said that these severe consequences were justified, but that it wasn’t willing to suspend Trump in an “indefinite way.”
However, despite Facebook’s strong actions here, it also doubled down on its unwillingness to control speech, saying that it does not want to serve as the “truth police.”
“I don’t think anybody wants a private company like Facebook to be vetting everything that people say on social media for its precise accuracy and then booting people off the platform if what they say is inaccurate,” Facebook vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg said. “We can explain to users that independent fact checkers might find something to be inaccurate. I don’t think they want Facebook to be a sort of truth police.”
Clegg is right that Facebook shouldn’t be allowed to broadly control what we say on its platform. However, the company should also take more responsibility to limit the spread of dangerous misinformation, spam and other forms of offensive content.
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