- At the moment, the company has no intention to lift its indefinite ban on President Donald Trump, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said
- On Monday, Sandberg said that the unrest in the U.S. Capitol was primarily organized on other internet services last week
- Sandberg also said she had no plans to leave the organization
On Monday, the world’s largest social network had no plans to lift its block on US President Donald Trump’s accounts, Facebook’s operations chief Sheryl Sandberg said, as the company clamped down on a phrase that has become a rallying cry for supporters of the president.
Sandberg, speaking at the Reuters Next conference, said she was delighted that Facebook had frozen the accounts of Trump, which came as tech companies scrambled to clamp down on his false accusations of fraud in the US presidential election in the wake of protests last week in Washington.
Hours later, the company absolutely banned the word “stop the steal” citing the use of the expression to organise events contesting the results of the US presidential election that have propensity for violence.
While talking further about the Trump ban, she said, “If Trump decided to appeal for the removal of its content, it could happen through the new Oversight Board of the company.”
Sheryl Sandberg while speaking to columnist Gina Chon of Reuters Breakingviews said, “This shows the president is not above the policies we have.”
For a long time, Facebook executives have given a light touch to the police discourse shared by politicians, insisting that people have the right to see their leaders’ statements.
After experiencing an outcry this summer, including an advertiser boycott, the company backed down somewhat from its stance and began to add labels to the president’s posts as it refused to respond against Trump’s incendiary comments regarding anti-racism protests in the United States.
After the protests last week, which resulted in the storming of the US Capitol, it reversed course and suspended Trump indefinitely.
On Monday, Facebook’s stock closed down 4 percent, as protests by social networks against Trump sparked investor anxiety about potential regulation. Though Alphabet lost 2 percent, Twitter, which permanently suspended Trump, plummeted over 6 percent.
According to researchers and public posts, violent rhetoric on social media sites like Facebook had ramped up in the weeks preceding the protests as groups mobilized openly for the gatherings, drawing backlash of companies for failing to take action in advance.
Sandberg admitted that some of those posts might have been missed by Facebook, but said she felt that the events were mostly coordinated on other platforms.
She said that in the run-up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on January 20, which prompted an FBI warning, the company was keeping an eye on more potential armed protests being organized for Washington, DC and all 50 U.S. capital cities.
Asked why Facebook had not taken similar measures against other leaders in the Philippines, such as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and President Rodrigo Duterte, who were also accused of inciting online violence, Sandberg said the policies of the organization will be implemented globally.
In the past year, Sandberg has played a less influential public role on Facebook, even as CEO Mark Zuckerberg, with a series of livestreamed chats and numerous sessions testifying before Congress, has thrown himself into the public sphere.
Following the mid-year return of Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, who had quit the year before, the two also faced questions about their future on Facebook, citing unclear differences about the direction of the company.
Sandberg when asked about the future for herself and Zuckerberg on Facebook said, they were still both in their current roles.
The Facebook COO to clear the doubt about her future with the Facebook and said, “I’m staying,” adding that she (Sandberg) and Mark Zuckerberg “feel we have a real responsibility to fix the systems that didn’t work before to protect our service and to make sure great things can happen.”
As Zuckerberg took a more active role in content policy and government affairs, her conventional areas of responsibility, Sandberg also dismissed claims that she had been side-lined.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg while talking about the matter said, “People love headlines about corporate drama, and I think it’s fair to say they predominantly love headlines about side-lining women in corporate. She further added, “But I just feel extremely lucky to have this job because there is so much good.”
Sandberg said it was “very real,” cautioning similar scrutiny two decades ago was a “major distraction” for Microsoft and caused it to skip the next stage of technology development, on talking about regulatory pressure on US tech companies around antitrust issues.
Sheryl further added, “We know the history, and both of us have to work on these serious issues, work with the government, work to change the rules that regulate us, which need to be reformed, and continue to innovate.”