Sandberg suggests Facebook has no plans to lift Trump ban

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Facebook Inc’s COO Sheryl Sandberg has said the world’s largest social media business needed no plans to raise its own block on the balances of US President Trump, since the group clamped down on a phrase that has become a rallying cry for the president’s supporters.

Sandberg, talking during the Reuters Next conference, said she had been thankful that Facebook had suspended Trump’s accounts, which arrived as tech giants scrambled to crack down on his baseless claims about fraud at the US presidential election amid riots in Washington a week.

Hours later, the business banned the phrase “stop the steal” entirely, citing usage of this term to arrange events contesting the outcome of this US presidential election that have a propensity for violence.

If Trump wanted to appeal the elimination of his content, which could happen through the organization’s new Oversight Board, she added. Facebook stated Trump couldn’t appeal the true suspension through the board.

“This shows the president is not above the policies we have,” Sandberg said, speaking with Reuters Breakingviews columnist Gina Chon.

Facebook executives have taken a light touch to policing address posted by politicians, asserting that people have a right to find statements from their leaders.

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The company backed down somewhat on that position and started applying labels to the president’s posts after confronting a backlash this summer, including an advertiser boycott, as it declined to action against Trump’s incendiary rhetoric round anti-racism protests throughout the United States.

It turned out course and prohibited Trump indefinitely after last week’s riots, which culminated in the storming of the US Capitol.

Violent rhetoric on social networking platforms including Facebook had ramped up in the months preceding the rallies as classes planned publicly for its parties, according to researchers and public postings, prompting criticism of the firms for failing to take more aggressive actions beforehand.

Sandberg confessed that Facebook might have missed some of those posts but said she believed the events were largely organized on other platforms.

She said that the business was keeping an eye on additional possible armed protests being planned for Washington, D.C. and at all 50 US state capital cities in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, that has prompted an FBI warning.

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Asked why Facebook had not taken similar actions against other leaders such as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and President Rodrigo Duterte from the Philippines, that similarly were accused of inciting violence on the web, Sandberg said the organization’s policies would apply globally.

Sandberg has played a less prominent public function at Facebook in the last year, even as CEO Mark Zuckerberg has thrown himself into the public sphere with a series of livestreamed chats and multiple sessions testifying before Congress.

Both also have faced questions about their potential at the Facebook after the mid-year yield of Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, who had left the year before citing vague differences within the company’s direction.

Asked about the future for herself and Zuckerberg at Facebook, Sandberg said were staying stuck in their current roles.

“I’m staying,” she said, adding that she and Zuckerberg “feel we have a real responsibility to fix the systems that didn’t work before to protect our service and to make sure great things can happen,” Sandberg added.

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Sandberg also denied reports that she was side-lined as Zuckerberg took a more active role in content policy and government relations, her traditional regions of responsibility.

“People love headlines about corporate drama, and I think it’s fair to say they particularly love headlines about side-lining women. But I just feel tremendously lucky to have this job because there is so much good,” she explained.

Sandberg stated regulatory strain on US tech firms around antitrust problems was “very real,” cautioning similar scrutiny two years ago was a “major distraction” for Microsoft Corp and caused it to miss the next stage of technology advancement.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Translation from English to other languages via Google Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Katie Paul and Elizabeth Culliford.

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