The Facebook Oversight Board must ensure that President Trump’s removal from Facebook is permanent, or risk his further incitement of violence, promotion of racism, and threat to democracy, comments submitted to the board by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law today argue. The comments also state that allowing him back on the platform would set a dangerous precedent for other world leaders who are seeking to use Facebook to promote hateful violence and undermine democracy.
On Facebook, President Trump’s constant rhetoric of violence, threats and racism made anyone who disagreed with him—especially Black Americans fighting for racial justice—a target of online hate and harassment. He openly supported violent attacks on democratic institutions and there is no evidence to suggest that he will change his pattern of racism, lying, and hateful speech if allowed back on the platform.
“Donald Trump is a danger to the rule of law, public safety and electoral democracy,” said Adonne Washington, an attorney with the Digital Justice Initiative at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “His incitement of violent insurrection, embrace of racism, and perpetuation of harmful lies should disqualify him from rejoining Facebook.”
President Trump, before and during his presidency, used Facebook to rapidly spread disinformation, launch false conspiracy theories about elections, engage in racist attacks, and promote hate and violence. His actions did not just directly cause harm; he also implicitly encouraged and explicitly incited others to engage in hate crimes and violence, giving political cover to white supremacy. The platform rarely enforced its community standards against him, and as a result he deliberately continued to defy them and escalate his attacks. These posts came not just from his personal account, but also through paid advertisements from his presidential campaign.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.