As president, Donald Trump developed a rep for using social media to tout his accomplishments and mock his opponents, often at all hours of the night. But when he began posting unsubstantiated claims about election fraud and urging his supporters to protest the voting results, major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter suspended his accounts. Last month, Facebook’s newly established oversight board was asked to review Trump’s case and decide whether to lift the ban on his FB and Instagram accounts.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates went on CNBC‘s “Squawk Box” segment Thursday to promote his new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster. At one point, the conversation turned to the issue of Trump’s Facebook ban. Host Andrew Ross Sorkin asked Gates what he would advise if he were on the oversight board. “Well, I think that at some point, he will be allowed back on, and I think he should be allowed back on,” opined the tech giant. “It’s weird when you’re saying the election was stolen without any facts there, and how corrosive that is, but I bet they’ll find a way to let him back on.”
Trump may be allowed to post to Facebook again
Gates added, however, that even if Donald Trump is allowed to return to social media, his posts would probably be vetted and tagged with warnings if he makes unsubstantiated claims. He also mused about the former president’s ability to maintain the following he did when he was in the White House. “In a way, people’s interest in what he says may go down quite a bit,” Gates said. “That’ll be interesting to watch.”
He and others may be able to test that theory before long. Per NPR, Facebook’s oversight board needs to reach a binding decision within three months. Whatever the outcome, it will have a far-reaching impact on what major political figures can and can’t say on social media.
Even if the board decides in Trump’s favor, that doesn’t mean he’ll be back to posting everywhere. Twitter’s CFO Ned Segal told CNBC that the former president will never be allowed to tweet again. “When you’re removed from the platform, you’re removed from the platform,” Segal said. “[T]here’d be no difference for anybody who’s a public official once they’ve been removed from the service.”
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