The Oversight Board, a body within Facebook has been given the mandate to deliver a verdict within 90 days on whether former US President, Donald John Trump’s indefinite suspension from the company’s social media platforms should be lifted.
Among the 20 members on the panel set to make a final and binding decision on whether Mr Trump’s suspension, from Facebook and Instagram, should be lifted is a Ghanaian, Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei.
Appointed to the board on Thursday, May 7, 2020, Afia Asantewaa holds a Ghanaian, South African, and Senegalese nationality. She is a human rights lawyer and Program Manager at the Open Society Initiative for West Africa.
She was appointed with two other Africans, Julie Owono, a digital rights advocate and Executive Director of Internet Sans Frontières from Cameroon, and Maina Kiai, a human rights activist and Director of Human Rights Watch’s Global Alliances and Partnerships program from Kenya.
Former US President, Donald J. Trump who was on his way out of office in January was given a 24-hour posting ban on Facebook and Instagram.
The ban was however extended indefinitely following the insurrection attack on the US Capitol by alleged Trump fanatics.
The suspension of Trump was on the back of his persistent use of social media for posting content many categorized as promoting hate and inciting violence.
Already Trump has permanently been banned by Twitter from using their platform, at the time of the ban, he had amassed a followership of over 88 million.
He is also serving a permanent ban on Snapchat as well as on YouTube where he has been suspended indefinitely.
Facebook Appeal and the Oversight Board’s decision
An appeal against President Trump’s suspension was filed on his behalf arguing for his Facebook and Instagram accounts to be restored.
“We can confirm that a user statement has been received in the case before the Oversight Board concerning President Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts,” a spokesperson for the Oversight Board said in a statement.
There has been a heated argument on whether the ban should be lifted or not and the Oversight Board will make a final decision which cannot be overturned by anyone else including Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
For Trump supporters and free speech advocates, the suspension of the former American President sets a dangerous precedent against free speech promotion.
May 2020: Afia speaks following her appointment onto the Oversight Board
Speaking in an interview with Bitztech Africa’s Nana Appiah Acquaye following her appointment to the Board, Afia expressed what she believes merited her appointment to be part of the content moderation decision-making body.
“I joined the Oversight Board because I have worked for a long time on human rights, justice, freedom of expression, and access to information issues and I understand ordinary people’s aspirations for credible information. Facebook is a formidable platform and I believe the work of the Board will help to maintain it as a viable and credible source of information.
“I have a non-negotiable stance – in my person and professional practice – on issues, values and principles such as integrity, transparency, accountability, respect for human rights, ethics, diversity, inclusion, voice, appropriate rules of engagement and conduct, and these are also issues that the Board will be exploring and treating.
“By being on the Board, I can serve the interest of the global community of users by contributing to Facebook’s content governance and enforcement processes and help to address the concerns and demands of the general public who use it, including myself.
“The Oversight Board is an important mission and each Member has demonstrated a commitment to the rights and values that underpin the Board,” she said.
Source : Ghanaweb