Bend the Arc: More accountability needed in decision on Trump's Facebook ban


Bend the Arc: More accountability needed in decision on Trump's Facebook ban

May 05, 2021

Wednesday, May 5
Contact: Logan Smith
[email protected]

Bend the Arc: More accountability needed in decision on Trump's Facebook ban
Facebook must stop valuing its political advertising revenue over our lives and our democracy

WASHINGTON – Bend the Arc: Jewish Action released the following statement on Wednesday in response to the Facebook Oversight Board’s decision temporarily upholding the suspension of former President Trump’s account, but opening the door to Trump’s return by giving Facebook six months to decide whether to either lift the suspension or make it permanent:

“Make no mistake: Allowing Trump to use Facebook’s platform again either now, in six months, or anytime in the future will lead to harm to our communities,” said Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action. “But this issue goes far beyond Trump. Facebook has a long history of enabling politicians who spread conspiracy theories, racism, and antisemitism — and the company must confront the full danger its actions pose to our communities and our democracy.”

As Jews, we know that whether we’re walking down the streets of our neighborhoods or through the doors of our holy spaces, freedom and safety for any of us depends on the freedom and safety of all of us. No social media platform should allow anyone, especially a public official or candidate for office, to spread conspiracy theories and disinformation that incite violence, endanger our democracy, and threaten the American people.”

“If Facebook is going to take seriously its impact on and responsibility to human rights, the company must stop valuing its political advertising revenue over our lives and our democracy. The company could start by firing Joel Kaplan, Vice President of Global Public Policy, who has blocked changes that would address the spread of disinformation and perpetuated anti-Black policies. Since it’s clear that Facebook does not take its responsibility as seriously as it takes its profits, it is long past time for the government to step in and dramatically curtail the unchecked power of this toxic monopoly.”

For years, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action has joined our partners including Color of Change, Muslim Advocates, and Equality Labs in calling on Facebook to make their platform safer for marginalized communities. But because of Facebook’s “newsworthiness exemption” developed under Joel Kaplan which protects public officials, Facebook refused to remove Trump’s inflammatory posts — such as his post about shooting Black protesters — until Bend the Arc exposed the Trump campaign’s use of a Nazi concentration camp symbol last year. From 2015 to 2019, Trump’s dangerous rhetoric helped fuel a 123% increase in antisemitic incidents and emboldened the growth of the white supremacist movement in the United States. While the Trump campaign was paying Facebook to spread this disinformation, his administration was diverting counterterrorism resources at the Department of Justice, preventing the investigation of far-right violent white supremacist groups for plotting violence during and after the 2020 election. That disinformation is now fully entrenched in the right-wing infosphere, with a majority of Republican voters blaming the January 6 insurrection on “Antifa.” 

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action submitted a public comment to the Facebook Oversight Board during its decision process encouraging the board to make Trump’s ban permanent, and calling for greater accountability for Facebook as a whole.

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action is uniting a movement of tens of thousands of progressive Jews across the country who are fighting for justice and equality for all. We are the only national Jewish organization focused exclusively on social change in the United States.