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Trump's Facebook ban upheld by Oversight Board

Photo courtesy of Al Drago / Getty Images file

The board said Facebook was "justified in suspending Mr. Trump’s accounts" but that the company should reassess its decision to ban him "indefinitely."

Posted: May 5, 2021 8:16 AM

NBC News- Former President Donald Trump is likely to remain banned from Facebook after the social network's quasi-independent Oversight Board said Wednesday that the company was justified in removing him from the platform after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The decision is a blow to Trump's hopes to post again to Facebook or Instagram any time soon, and it could be a far-reaching precedent for how some of the internet's biggest platforms treat the speech of world leaders and politicians.

Facebook created the Oversight Board last year as a kind of "supreme court" to hear appeals from users like Trump who have had their posts removed or who want to challenge other sensitive or contentious moderation decisions. The decisions of the 20-member globe-spanning board are not binding, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to abide by what it says.

“Given the seriousness of the violations and the ongoing risk of violence, Facebook was justified in suspending Mr. Trump’s accounts on January 6 and extending that suspension on January 7,” the board said in its decision.

The oversight board said, though, it was not appropriate for Facebook to vary from its normal penalties when it made the ban indefinite. Facebook’s normal penalties include removing posts, imposing a limited suspension or permanently disabling an account, the board said.

“As Facebook suspended Mr. Trump’s accounts ‘indefinitely,’ the company must reassess this penalty,” the board said.

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