Michael McConnell, co-chairman of Facebook's Oversight Board, addressed the company's recent resolution to uphold its suspension of Trump for six months while the company explains its policy. The former president was banned off the platform after the Jan. 6 tumult at the U.S. Capitol.
The Oversight Board asked Facebook to review its ban on Trump because it had applied a "vague, standardless penalty" when it first suspended him and then asked the Board to weigh in on the matter which was a way for the platform to "avoid its responsibilities," the Board said.
"Private companies are not bound by the First Amendment," McConnell said Sunday on Fox News. "And so, he has no First Amendment rights. He's a customer. Facebook is not a government, and he is not a citizen of Facebook."
Trump's accounts on Facebook and Instagram were banned indefinitely after the attack at the Capitol, which many social media monsters tied to his statements about the illegitimacy of the 2020 election. While Wednesday's judgment by the independent board kept Trump's decision intact for the now, the former president may be allowed to reactivate his profile in six months, when Facebook will once again want to justify "a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform."
The platform explained that Trump broke its content moderation standards after the former president told the rebels they were "very special" and that he would subsequently "remember this day forever" in a video published on the platform. Facebook claimed those remarks had praised those engaging in violence.
Facebook further insisted that Trump's "unfounded" allegations of voter fraud related to the election had "created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible."
Before his suspension, Trump had 35 million followers on Facebook and 24 million on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
After the tumult, the former president was further removed by YouTube and Twitter, a platform Trump frequented to share his thoughts regarding political opponents and announce policy decisions.
Since his ousting from the most influential social media platforms, Trump has been using emails and media interviews to communicate with the public. The former president built a one-way communication platform, "From the Desk of Donald J. Trump," to share his thoughts with followers, and speculation continues that he will create a social media platform that will allow users to interact in a manner more akin to Twitter or Facebook.