Review Board Upholds Facebook’s Ban on Trump—For Now

In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a rally in Washington.

In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a rally in Washington. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

The board left the decision on whether to ban Trump permanently up to the tech company.

Facebook’s quasi-independent Oversight Board upheld the company’s decision to suspend former President Donald Trump’s account for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

The 20-member board—which acts akin to a court in deciding appeals from Facebook users who’ve had their accounts suspended or content removed—said the company was “justified” in suspending Trump’s accounts Jan. 7 “given the seriousness of the violations and the ongoing risk of violence” posed by the president’s comments.

However, the board took issue with the way the company issued the “indeterminate and standardless penalty” of indefinite suspension while attempting to absolve itself of responsibility by punting a final decision on the matter to the review board. As such, the board directed Facebook to review its decision within six months and ultimately “apply and justify a defined penalty.”

“Within six months of this decision, Facebook must reexamine the arbitrary penalty it imposed on January 7 and decide the appropriate penalty,” the decision states. “This penalty must be based on the gravity of the violation and the prospect of future harm. It must also be consistent with Facebook's rules for severe violations, which must, in turn, be clear, necessary and proportionate."

On Jan. 6, Facebook suspended Trump’s account for 24 hours after two posts, including a video telling those who stormed the Capitol to go home and “we love you” violated its policies. The company quickly extended the suspension indefinitely.

Other tech platforms, including Twitter and YouTube, took similar action, indefinitely banning Trump from using their platforms. 

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