'Even the president' not above our policies: Facebook COO

FACEBOOK CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, SHERYL SANDBERG:

"Even the president is not above the policies we have."

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg on Monday said the world's largest social network had no plans to lift its ban on the accounts of U.S. President Donald Trump for violating its policies against inciting violence.

Speaking at the Reuters Next conference, Sandberg said she was glad Facebook had taken the action:

"Our ban's indefinite. We've said at least through the transition. But we have no plans to let it. We've no plans to lift it."

Facebook's ban came as tech giants scrambled to crack down on Trump's baseless claims about election fraud amid an unprecedented attack on Congress in Washington last week moments after Trump's rally outside the White House.

Violent rhetoric on social media platforms including Facebook ramped up in recent weeks as groups planned for the rallies, according to researchers and public postings.

"So why did we do it? We have clearly established principles that say you cannot call for violence in this moment. We took down those posts that we thought might be calling for violence or were calling for violence immediately. But in this moment, the risk to our democracy was too big that we felt we had to take the unprecedented step of what is an indefinite ban. And I'm glad we did."

Facebook executives have long taken a light touch to policing speech posted by politicians, maintaining that people have a right to see statements from their leaders.

The company backed down somewhat on that position and started applying labels to the president's posts after facing a backlash this past summer, including an advertiser boycott, when it declined to act against Trump's incendiary rhetoric around anti-racism protests throughout the U.S.

Sandberg also denied reports she had been sidelined as CEO Mark Zuckerberg took a more active role in content policy and government relations, her traditional areas of responsibility, casting aside rumors of her reduced role as "corporate drama."

Asked about the future for herself and Zuckerberg at Facebook, Sandberg said both were staying put in their current roles.

Video Transcript

SHERYL SANDBERG: Even a president is not above the policies we have.

- Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on Monday said the world's largest social media network has no plans to lift its ban on the accounts of US President Donald Trump for violating its policies against inciting violence. Speaking at the Reuters NEXT conference, Sandberg said she was glad Facebook had taken the action.

SHERYL SANDBERG: Our ban's indefinite, we've said, at least through the transition. But we have no plans to lif-- we have no plans to lift it.

- Facebook's ban came as tech giants scrambled to crack down on Trump's baseless claims about election fraud amid an unprecedented attack on Congress in Washington last week, moments after Trump's rally outside the White House.

DONALD TRUMP: We will never concede.

- Violent rhetoric on social media platforms, including Facebook, ramped up in recent weeks as groups planned for the rallies, according to researchers and public postings.

SHERYL SANDBERG: So why did we do it? We have clearly established principles that say you cannot call for violence. In this moment, we took down those posts that we thought might be calling for violence or were calling for violence immediately. But in this moment, the risk to our democracy was too big that we felt we had to take the unprecedented step of what is an indefinite ban. And I'm glad we did.

- Facebook executives have long taken a light touch to policing speech posted by politicians, maintaining that people have a right to see statements from their leaders. The company backed down somewhat on that position and started applying labels to the president's posts after facing a backlash this past summer, including an advertiser boycott when it declined to act against Trump's incendiary rhetoric around anti-racism protests throughout the US.

Sandberg also denied reports she had been sidelined, as CEO Zuckerberg took a more active role in content policy and government relations, her traditional areas of responsibility, casting aside rumors of her reduced role as "corporate drama." Asked about the future for herself and Zuckerberg at Facebook, Sandberg said both were staying put in their current roles.