Facebook’s Oversight Board has decided Donald Trump’s fate, upholding the ban imposed after the January 6 insurrection.
Then-President Donald Trump was banned by every major social media outlet in the aftermath of the January 6 insurrection, one that saw a violent mob attach the US Capitol. During the riot, Mr. Trump made two Facebook posts, both of which continued to claim the election had been stolen and was fraudulent. Since it was those false claims that had fired up the mob, and incited it to violence, Facebook removed both posts and suspended Mr. Trump’s account.
Mr. Trump’s case was one of many that Facebook’s Oversight Board was reviewing to either uphold or overturn. Ultimately, the board has decided to uphold the ban, although with the recommendation it be revisited in six months.
The Board has upheld Facebook’s decision on January 7, 2021, to restrict then-President Donald Trump’s access to posting content on his Facebook page and Instagram account.
However, it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension. Facebook’s normal penalties include removing the violating content, imposing a time-bound period of suspension, or permanently disabling the page and account.
The Board insists that Facebook review this matter to determine and justify a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform. Facebook must complete its review of this matter within six months of the date of this decision. The Board also made policy recommendations for Facebook to implement in developing clear, necessary, and proportionate policies that promote public safety and respect freedom of expression.
It remains to be seen what the fallout of the board’s decision will be, although Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has warned the decision could make Republicans more likely to sign off on antitrust action against Facebook and other tech giants.