Facebook's court-like Oversight Board announced this morning that the social network can keep blocking former President Trump from using its platform, affirming the company's decision to suspend Trump in January after the US Capitol riots.
If you're just reading in now, here's what you need to know about the decision — and what comes next:
- What happened today: The Oversight Board — an independent entity for appealing content decisions on Facebook-owned platforms, which is made up of 20 experts in areas like free expression, human rights, and journalism — said Facebook can keep blocking former President Trump from using its platform.
- The decision must be reviewed again: However, the board said Facebook must review the decision within six months. "Within six months of this decision, Facebook must reexamine the arbitrary penalty it imposed on January 7 and decide the appropriate penalty," the board wrote, adding such penalty "must be based on the gravity of the violation and the prospect of future harm." Facebook said in a statement that it will "consider the board’s decision and determine an action that is clear and proportionate."
- Criticism within the ruling: The board also criticized Facebook for having made the suspension indefinite. "In applying a vague, standardless penalty and then referring this case to the Board to resolve, Facebook seeks to avoid its responsibilities," the decision said.
- About the initial ban: Former President Trump was suspended "indefinitely" from Facebook and Instagram on Jan. 7, a day after his supporters stormed the Capitol in a bid to overturn the 2020 election results. Mark Zuckerberg wrote at the time, "We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great." Twitter and YouTube took similar steps, citing an ongoing risk of violence and incitement.