| 24 July 2024, Wednesday |

Trump Still Banned from Facebook but Board Demands Company Review

BBC News published the following article:

Donald Trump’s ban from Facebook and Instagram has been upheld by Facebook’s Oversight Board.

But it criticized the permanent nature of the ban as beyond the scope of Facebook’s normal penalties.

It has ordered Facebook to review the decision and “justify a proportionate response” that is applied to everyone, including ordinary users.

The former president was banned from both sites in January following the Capitol Hill riots.

The Oversight Board said the initial decision to permanently suspend Mr Trump was “indeterminate and standardless”, and that the correct response should be “consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform”.

Facebook must respond within six months, it said.

At a press conference, Oversight Board co-chair Helle Thorning-Schmidt admitted: “We did not have an easy answer.”

The Board was due to announce its decision last month but delayed the ruling in order to review more than 9,000 public responses to cases, it said.

In the meantime, Mr Trump, who is also banned from Twitter, launched a new website on Tuesday to update supporters with his thoughts.

What did the Board say?

The ruling means that Mr Trump’s suspension remains in place for now.

The Oversight Board decided that Mr Trump had broken Facebook’s community standards, and upheld the ban.

But it is the “indefinite” part of the ban that it took issue with.

“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,” it said in a statement.

Applying that type of ban to Mr Trump was not following any clear procedure, it said.

The Board argued that Facebook had essentially issued “a vague, standardless penalty and then [referred] this case to the Board to resolve”.

It said doing so meant “Facebook seeks to avoid its responsibilities” – and sent the decision back to Facebook.

What is the Oversight Board?

Often referred to as “Facebook’s Supreme Court”, it was set up to rule on difficult or controversial moderation decisions made by Facebook.

It was established by Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg but operates as an independent entity, although its wages and other costs are covered by Facebook. It is made up of journalists, human rights activists, lawyers and academics.

The committee has already ruled on nine cases including a comment that seemed derogatory to Muslims. The post from a user in Myanmar, removed for breaking hate-speech rules, was found by the board not to be Islamophobic when taken in context.

It decisions

What happened to Trump’s account?

Following the Capitol Hill riots on 6 January, Facebook announced it was banning Mr Trump for breaking its “glorification of violence” rules.

Hundreds of his supporters entered the complex as the US Congress attempted to certify Joe Biden’s victory in last year’s presidential election.

Mr Trump was acquitted of a charge of inciting insurrection at the US Capitol in his second impeachment trial in February, after being accused of encouraging the violence in which five people lost their lives.

The social network had originally imposed a 24-hour ban after the attack which was then extended “indefinitely”.

Mr Zuckerberg announced that the risks of allowing Mr Trump to post were “simply too great”.

The former president has also been banned from Twitter and YouTube.