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Facebook must reinstate ‘Macron is devil’ post: Oversight board

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers initial remarks during a conference meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, February 12, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Facebook should reinstate a post that had labeled French President Emmanuel Macron a “devil,” an independent body that oversees the contents of the social media giant has ruled, referring to an October 2020 episode where the president sparked widespread anger in the Muslim world through Islamophobic remarks.

The Oversight Board ruled on Friday that Facebook should reinstate the post, which included hashtags referring to Macron and called for the boycott of French goods.

Facebook removed the post under its Violence and Incitement Community Standard.

The board, made up of 40 legal and human rights experts, said it “did not believe that this post was likely to cause harm.”

Macron has already outraged the world’s Muslim population of nearly two billion people by publicly attacking Islam in defense of the publication of derogatory cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The French president has also defended the ‘right to blaspheme.’

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo republished sacrilegious cartoons of the Prophet last October.

The board explained that while a minority of its members viewed the post as “threatening some form of violent response to blasphemy,” the majority considered the post not necessarily violent.

It said under international human rights standards, people are allowed to “seek, receive, and impart” opinions, including those that may be deemed offensive by others.

Accordingly, the board decided that people have the right to criticize “religions,” and religious people, equally, have the right to express “offence at such expressions.”

It, however, said the decision to reinstate the post does not imply endorsement of its content.

Facebook will now have to reinstate the post within seven days.

The same board is now reviewing whether Facebook should reinstate the account of former US President Donald Trump.

Facebook and several other social media networks banned Trump following his support of the deadly January 6 rampage of the Capitol.

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