May 16, 2021

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Facebook is investigating two Trump posts – there are thousands of others they could have banned him over

Facebook banned Donald Trump “indefinitely” over two incendiary posts but there are thousands more they could have silenced the ex-president over, media experts say.

Nearly a quarter of MrTrump’s 6,081 posts on the social media platform between 1 January 2020 and 6 January 2021 contained misinformation about Covid, the election or his opponents or extremist rhetoric, according to Media Matters for America.

The one-term president was banned by Facebook in the wake of the US Capitol riot by his supporters in January that left five people dead.

The group says their findings show that Facebook did very little to punish Mr Trump’s behavior and that the posts were shared and liked more than 927 million times.

Media Matters says that of Mr Trump’s problematic 1,443 posts, Facebook attached labels to 506, which provided the users with a link to authoritative information.

But the group says the labels did not tell the user if the post in question was false or misleading.

Media Matters says its analysis was based on figures from the Facebook-owned analytics tool CrowdTangle.

A Facebook spokesperson said that the not all forms of misinformation were banned by company and that on the few occasions where Mr Trump was found to have violated their policies the posts were removed.

In 2020 Facebook removed just seven of Mr Trump’s posts, and four of those are for copyright issues, according to an analysis byThe Washington Post.

The Facebook Oversight Board is set to announce at 9am ET on Wednesday its decision on whether Facebook can keep its ban on Mr Trump in place or have to unlock his account.

Media Matters included its research in a submission to the oversight board as to why Facebook should not reinstate Mr Trump.

But Angelo Carusone, president and chief executive of Media Matters, said he believed that Facebook would lift the ban.

“I think that what is going to happen is that they will let Trump back on, I feel like it was a set up from the beginning, the fix is in,” he told The Independent.

“Facebook was first out of the gate issuing a rebuke of Trump, but the ban was always temporary, they were always vague about it and the indicator they want him back on was that it was Facebook not Donald Trump that appealed their own decision in the eleventh hour. That was a strong indicator.”

Mr Carusone added that his group’s research into Mr Trump’s Facebook posts was “pretty alarming.”

“What became clear was that Facebook did not apply any punishment to him at all,” he said.

“There were many off-ramps along the way, we did not have to get to this place where he was pulled off arbitrarily. 

“They could have been issuing rebukes and warnings along the way but they did not do that. It is a pretty extraordinary case, 1,400 posts is an awful lot.”