After the closure of Donald Trump’s account, Facebook and its “Supervisory Board” in search of legitimacy

Facebook has set up a “Supervisory Board”, presented as independent, to rule on sensitive questions of moderation. Barely born, this body must decide on the suspension of Donald Trump’s account. A decision fraught with stakes that analyzes Barthélémy Michalon, specialist in relations between public authorities and digital giants, in this article.

In the wake of the events on Capitol Hill, several social media companies resolved to shut down the accounts of still US President Donald Trump , basing their decision on calls for violence he relayed on their platforms. Whether or not commentators, analysts and members of the political class approve of this digital ostracism, they agree on one point: there is a yawning gulf between the scope of this decision and the legitimacy of those who made it.

In itself, this type of decision is not new, since millions of users have already been banned from these online spaces. However, the application of this measure to a prominent political figure gives this specific case a preeminence unmatched until then.

Intensely debated from the moment they were announced, these decisions brought to light a reality that was already difficult to ignore: the considerable power held by the companies that control these social networks, especially in terms of regulating public discourse online. Even the executives of Twitter and Facebook openly recognize that this is a responsibility they wish they didn’t have to take on alone.

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