Facebook’s Oversight Board has upheld the social media company’s decision on January 7, 2021, to restrict 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.
The former president was banned from both sites in January following the Capitol Hill riots.
Twitter has already said its ban is permanent, regardless of whether he runs for office in future, while YouTube will restore the former president’s channel when the risk of violence has decreased.
Facebook was due to announce its decision last month but delayed the ruling in order to review over 9,000 public responses. The oversight board was set up by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to rule on difficult or controversial moderation decisions made by Facebook.
Meanwhile, the former President has launched a new “communications” website, which says it will publish content “straight from the desk” of the former US president. The former president has recently been releasing statements by press release – which the new website will now host. Users will be able to like posts – and also share them on their Twitter and Facebook accounts.