A Nigerian barrister known as Olakunle Allison has argued that the actions of the CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg in removing President of United States Donald Trump from his platform are improper.
Barr. Allison stated that the Facebook platform is not a publisher and so Mark Zuckerberg isn’t accountable for the posts made by users. Therefore, Facebook has no authority in removing President Trump for allegedly inciting the violence at Capitol city.
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Is Zuckerberg a Publisher or a Platform-owner?
If he is a Publisher, he can edit posts on his forum and even remove writers from the same forum. He becomes personally and civilly responsible for ALL our posts as a Publisher and can be sued for defamation, libel and general damages.
If he is just a Platform-owner who enjoys all the benefits and immunities that protect him from personal and civil liabilities, then I ask, on what authority did he unilaterally remove the President of the United States of America, the man who represents tens of millions of voters?
If your response is that Zuckerberg runs a private enterprise, you are a DUMMY who doesn’t understand Defamation Laws and particularly the Communications Decency Act of 1996 which provides libellous immunity to all social media PLATFORMS.
That’s the statute that protects Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc from defamation lawsuits by their users.
That’s why you cannot sue Zuckerberg for defamatory content because someone called you “prostitute”, “slut”, “criminal”, “terrorist”, “bastard”, “paedophile”, “rapist” in a Facebook post or comment.
And on the argument that Facebook is a privately owned enterprise, this is true in principle but a lie in fact.
Facebook is a PUBLIC-INTEREST organisation using members of the global public for commercial gains.
You and I don’t pay to be on Facebook because we are the PRODUCT.
Facebook is the biggest online market in the world because Zuckerberg has 2.7 Billion Products.
That’s you and I.
Because you and I are on Facebook, big corporations, businesses and services are on Facebook competing for our attention and targeting our pockets. And Zuckerberg is richer because of it.
Zuckerberg is wealthy because he CONNECTS buyer and seller.
(I will talk more about the Connected Economy in another post because that is the future if you must be wealthy).
So it is somewhat disingenuous to argue that Facebook is a private enterprise and can remove any “disturbing” content or content provider. No sir or ma.
Zuckerberg cannot have his cake and eat it.
I will stop here…
Olakunle Allison Barrister of Law.