Facebook’s Oversight Board Avoids Ruling on Incitement in Donald Trump case

Today Facebook’s Oversight Board correctly upheld the company’s decision to suspend Donald Trump from its platforms, but disappointingly relied only on a narrow basis that was different from the obvious and vital one: inciting violence.

We study dangerous speech and ways to counteract it.

Dangerous Speech: A Practical Guide

People don’t commit violence against other groups - or even condone it - spontaneously. First they must be taught to see other people as pests, vermin, aliens, or threats. Malicious leaders often use the same types of rhetoric to do this, in myriad cultures, languages, countries, and historical periods. We call this Dangerous Speech. Violence might be prevented by making it less abundant or less convincing. We work to find the best ways to do this – while protecting freedom of expression.

Resources

Trump in the Rearview Mirror: How to Better Regulate Violence-Inciting Content Online

It was a watershed when Donald Trump lost his social media megaphone on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms right after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, since none of these companies had ever dumped a head of state. But this moment also represents a failure: The companies barred him for inciting violence only after he had done it successfully. They identified incitement to violence in the rearview mirror, by waiting for violence to happen.

The Anti-Hate Brigade: How a Group of Thousands Responds Collectively to Online Vitriol

#jagärhär – "I am here" – is a Sweden-based group of thousands of volunteers working collectively to counter online hatred. This is first qualitative study of the group – how it works, why people join and stay engaged, and how its members try to shift thinking and discourse norms among the general public.

Blog + News

From an Evangelical Christian to my Sisters and Brothers: Our Godly Duty to Renounce Trump’s Dangerous Speech

Although Trump remains banned from Facebook and Twitter, Trump-ism is far from gone. The greatest, lasting damage his rhetoric did was not the January 6 riot –- awful as it was -- but rather the impression he has left upon so many well-intentioned Americans that he remains a necessary, even God-ordained defender of their faith and values.

Words Matter, but Context Matters More: Dangerous Speech and the Capitol Riots

Donald Trump’s lawyers tried to defend him against charges of inciting the Capitol riot by arguing that many Democrats have used similar language, including the word "fight". But it’s not the same.