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Facebook’s Oversight Board on Wednesday upheld the social network’s ban on former president Trump for encouraging violence following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, a decision that holds major implications for how the speech of political leaders should be policed online.

But the 20-member Oversight Board, which is largely independent and funded by the social network, also left open the door for Trump’s return. The expert panel took issue with Facebook’s “indefinite” suspension of Trump, calling it “vague and uncertain.” It sent the decision back to Facebook and said it had six months to clarify Trump’s punishment and come up with a response that fits its known rules.

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Facebook ends ban on posts claiming COVID-19 is man-made

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Facebook said Wednesday it would no longer ban posts suggesting COVID-19 is man-made amid mounting calls from President Biden and other officials for further investigation into the pandemic’s origins.

The announcement marked a reversal for the social media giant. In February, Facebook said it would remove posts claiming the virus was man-made or manufactured “following consultations with leading health organizations, including the World Health Organization” who had “debunked” the claim.

“In light of ongoing investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that COVID-19 is man-made from our apps,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “We’re continuing to work with health experts to keep pace with the evolving nature of the pandemic and regularly update our policies as new facts and trends emerge.”

Public calls for further investigation into the pandemic’s origins intensified in recent days after the Wall Street Journal reported that three researchers at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology displayed symptoms severe enough to seek hospital treatment. A previous State Department fact sheet noted the researchers had “symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness.”

In a statement earlier Monday, Biden said he had directed his national security adviser to develop a report on the virus’ origins, including the possibility that it emerged after a laboratory accident, shortly after he became president. Biden said he has called on intelligence officials to present a report on their findings within 90 days.
“The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence,” Biden said.
Facebook and other social media platforms have faced pressure from both sides of the aisle regarding their COVID-19 content policies. Democratic lawmakers have pressed platforms to crack down on the spread of misinformation, while Republicans have accused the companies of stifling open debate, including discussions on the lab leak theory.

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Facebook removes Trump interview where he signals he will run for President in 2024…

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President Trump and Lara Trump as they discuss social media censorship, China, Joe Biden, the FAKE NEWS, and a potential 2024 run! #TheRightView

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