Former President Donald Trump will remain banned on Facebook for now, the Facebook Oversight Board announced Wednesday, adding that Facebook must review the matter in the next six months to determine a defined penalty.
Facebook announced on Jan. 7 that Trump was locked out of his accounts on Facebook and Instagram indefinitely in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol siege, over concerns that his posts were inciting violence.
Within six months, “Facebook must reexamine the arbitrary penalty it imposed on January 7 and decide the appropriate penalty,” the board said Wednesday. “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.”
“It is not permissible for Facebook to keep a user off the platform for an undefined period, with no criteria for when or whether the account will be restored,” the board said.
The board claimed that Facebook gave Trump’s account “a vague, standardless penalty” and then tried to “avoid its responsibilities” by sending the “case to the Board to resolve.”
“If Facebook decides to restore Mr. Trump’s accounts, the company should apply its rules to that decision, including any changes made in response to the Board’s policy recommendations below,” the board’s ruling said. “In this scenario, Facebook must address any further violations promptly and in accordance with its established content policies.”
In response to the board’s ruling, Facebook said, “We will now consider the board’s decision and determine an action that is clear and proportionate. In the meantime, Mr. Trump’s accounts remain suspended.”
“The board also made a number of recommendations on how we should improve our policies,” Facebook said. “While these recommendations are not binding, we actively sought the board’s views on our policies around political figures and will carefully review its recommendations.”
Trump was permanently banned from Twitter on Jan. 8.
Trump told ABC News recently that the written statements he’s been issuing during his social media ban are “so much more elegant than Twitter.”
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