Facebook’s ban on the Former Guy Must Remain

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Here’s hoping the Facebook Oversight Board (FOB) does the right thing tomorrow and keeps the indefinite ban on the disgraced former president. American democracy eagerly awaits the decision.

For those of you who might not know it, Facebook created the Board to weigh in on certain moderation decisions made by the company and make sure that those decisions were “made according to its stated values.” Whatever decision they reach tomorrow cannot be overruled – even by Zuckerburg himself.

The Former Guy is seeking reinstatement of his Facebook and Instagram accounts. Currently, his accounts on YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitter remain suspended. All social media giants responded when the mob of thugs tried to overthrow our government on January 6. The Former Guy’s reprehensible promulgation of the Big Lie that the election was stolen from him directly resulted in the events of that day.

The media companies did the right thing then, and they must continue to silence the most dangerous politician in history.

Yes, there are free speech issues here. I, for one, am a proponent of the First Amendment and realize that banning a civilian, any civilian, from a platform carries with it the possibility that it may be a constitutional issue that may invite a court to intervene.

However, we’re not talking about any civilian here, and the context by which his ultimate ban came about must be the overriding factor for the Board in their decision-making process. As we all know, free speech is not limitless. It’s the old, “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater” argument. And in this case, what the Former Guy did after the November 3, 2020 election represents a clear case in which free speech rights must not apply.

It would be one thing if the Former Guy weren’t down in Florida doing his best wedding singer imitation, crashing receptions and the like, spewing his Big Lie over and over. Otherwise, allowing him back on the social media stage wouldn’t be a bad thing. But that’s precisely what he’s doing. He’s continuing the conspiracy theory narrative whenever he gets a chance.

The white supremacists are indeed listening, as are nearly 70% of Republican voters if recent polls are accurate. That’s right, the vast majority of Republicans in American believe the election was illegitimate and fraudulent. And why should we think that January 6, 2021, could not be replicated again? The same virulent hatred of that day sure as hell did not go away.

And even now, the Former Guy keeps talking about the ridiculous ‘recount’ going on in Arizona conducted by a crackpot internet security company. Most of sane America knows it’s a bunch of BS. Unfortunately, the Fox News viewing crowd and other wing nuts littering the American landscape do not.

And that is all the more reason for the FOB to keep the ban intact. The same holds for the other social media companies who’ve also indefinitely banned the ex-president. The more he keeps the Big Lie going, the more they must keep him off the internet to preserve our ever-so-tenuous democracy, which still seems like it’s hanging by a thread.

However, there’s a way out of this for the Former Guy. Let’s say, in a miraculous turn of events, that he approaches the media companies to announce a total reversal. He offers to make a public service announcement, to be simultaneously broadcast on their respective platforms, definitively repudiating the Big Lie — that the election was won fair and square by Joe Biden. And in so doing, he also pleads with his followers to give up the fight and accept the results.

Under no other circumstances, however, should he ever have the luxury of using those social media platforms to spew his lies and conspiracy theories. We, of course, can’t keep him from calling in Fox and Friends or being interviewed by OANN. That’s where he belongs – rambling on with the crackpots and so-called ‘entertainment journalists.’ The reach of Facebook, Twitter, and others, however, is far more problematic.

In no way can this most dangerous and pathetic man be allowed an even more giant megaphone. I apologize to our free speech advocates, which even include some on the left. Even they say the Former Guy should be able to say what he wants, that banning him sets a bad precedent.

I’m afraid I have to disagree with that premise. If not for the horrific mob attack on January 6, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. But we all saw what happened. We’ve never had the likes of the Former Guy in charge of our beloved United States of America. And there are some still out there who think he could be re-installed in some manner.

With all that we know now and what his band of crazy cultists is capable of, there’s simply no other choice but for the FOB to continue to allow the indefinite ban on the Former Guy to continue. To do otherwise is an affront to the very democracy from which Facebook and other social media companies have been able to thrive to the tune of billions in profit.

Free speech is not absolute. It is not limitless. And if the FOB rules otherwise, I shudder to think of what kind of blood will be on their hands if they allow him back on their platform. And the same goes for Twitter and the others.

Democracy was under attack on January 6, but it survived. How much longer do we have?

16 comments

  1. Good post, excellent points! As I’ve said so many times that I’m tired of hearing myself, ANY right is accompanied by the RESPONSIBILITY to use it wisely, to “do no harm”. The former guy, like Adolf Hitler before him, takes his rights to the nth degree, all the while forgetting or mocking the accompanying responsibility. He does not deserve a voice on public or social media. I make you this promise right now … if he is allowed back onto Facebook, I will cancel my FB account. The same goes for Twitter, the only other social media I use. I shall reblog innabit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jill! I totally agree with you. Twitter better hold the line on the idiot. Because that might be the last straw for me as well. As for Facebook, I do not have an account, and never will. I’ve just never bought into the Facebook thing. I realize why some would still have an account though. It does serve a purpose..families, friends etc… But they better do the right thing. Somehow I think they’ll let him back. UGHHHHH.
      Btw, I had a typo that I noticed about a half hour ago. I originally put January 6, 2020. DUHHHH. That’s what I get for being in a hurry. I fixed though. Thanks again Jill. You’re the best!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure, Jeff! As we’ve discussed before, I wouldn’t have stayed with Facebook this long, but that it gives me easy access to distant friends and family members, but even that isn’t enough to convince me to stay if the former guy is allowed back on. I have my fingers crossed … sigh.

        I didn’t notice a single typo, and I’m usually like a dog on a bone when I see one! Ah well … we have so much on our minds these days it’s a miracle we remember our name. Hi, I’m … um … er …

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes they did Nan. They’ve left the door open for his return though-in 6 months. It’s kind of like a punt, actually. But, it’s better than the alternative. I hope they make the ban permanent.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. LOL! So true. Luckily, they’ve now upheld the ban-at least for the next 6 months. Let’s hope they make it permanent!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. They need to make it permanent, for otherwise he will, once again, have a very loud voice with which to push his ignorance, his conspiracy theories, and his culture of hatred. He needs to be made irrelevant and SOON!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:

    Tomorrow, Facebook will announce whether the former guy will be allowed back on. If he is, I will be closing my Facebook account on that same day, for it would show me the lack of values, lack of integrity of that outlet. Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters weighs in on the topic, and I am 100% in agreement with him. Thanks, Jeff!

    Like

  3. Jeff, I must confess this is a hard one. The freedom of speech protection does not set aside the requirement one does not put others in danger, which the former president did leading up to and during the January 6 insurrection he helped foment. What he did was unforgiveable. It is also unforgiveable that only 56 Senators, but not the 2/3 needed voted to convict him. The sycophancy was appalling as well as the Senate Majority leader at the time, Mitch McConnell using a delay to the hearing until after the election to let the seditious former president escape accountability.

    Yet, Facebook cannot police the fact the former president has a very hard time with the truth. There are many liars on Facebook, many of whom are elected officials, which is sad. So, if they let the deceitful former president back on it better be with a short lease. If and when he misuses the platform, he should be yanked off. His untruthful nature will not stop as he cannot help himself. He is misleading his own followers about the election fraud claim even still when he cannot prove anything and many, many Republican judges, election officials and his own staff tell him there was not fraud. As Occam’s Razor tells us, is it easier to believe all of these other folks are lying or someone known to be a consistent untruthful person is lying yet again? Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, it is a tough one Keith, in the sense that we do and should honor our First Amendment rights whenever possible. But the former guy is the exception. His is a unique case in that he held office as the most powerful person in the world. He’s violated all the social media platform’s rules for years now. It culminated in what we saw on January 6. To let him back on, you and I both know he’ll never behave. He can’t do it. Like I wrote in the post, if he were to formally declare the election was legit and not ‘stolen’ from him, and never utter the words again, then I’d be ok with letting him back. He’ll never do it. With habitual bullies and liars like him, you can’t give them an inch. I say ban him for good. He does not deserve the benefit of the doubt.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The disgraced previous occupant is a classic case for the rather stern argument:
    ‘The Right to Free Speech is a Responsibility to be constantly Earned’
    You don’t let an inveterate drunk drive around in a car. And that creature is 6 bottles of Moonshine over the limit.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You know Roger, I heard a political commentator use the same analogy about the drunk driver. So true, and apt for why you simply cannot under any circumstances give him such a large platform. His crazies will follow him wherever he goes, but no entity has the reach that Facebook does. Good move on their part. Now, they must make it permanent!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree Jeff.
        A vast number of folk, to their credit adhere to the principal that everyone no matter how unpleasant has the right to air their views.
        It seems to me that odious fellow would have tested the resolve of many to stick with that.
        (Coming from the incorrigible wing of the Hard Far Left do not have such a problem)

        Liked by 1 person

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