Facebook’s Oversight Board upheld former US President Donald Trump’s suspension from Facebook and Instagram.
However, it rejected the permanent nature of the ban as it goes beyond the scope of the social network’s normal sanctions. The Oversight Board has ordered the tech giant to review the decision and “justify a proportionate response” that applies to everyone, including ordinary users.
Trump was banned from Facebook and Instagram after the Capitol Hill riots in January.
According to the Oversight Board, the initial decision to permanently suspend the former president was “indeterminate and standardless,” and the correct response should be “consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform.”
The company must respond within six months, it added.
At a press conference, Co-Chair Helle Thorning-Schmidt stated: “We did not have an easy answer” and added that she felt that Facebook would “appreciate the decision.” She also said: “We are telling Facebook to go back and be more transparent about how it assesses these things. Treat all users the same and don’t give arbitrary penalties.”
The tech giant responded that it would “consider the board’s decision and determine an action that is clear and proportionate.”
The Oversight Board confirmed that Trump had violated the platform’s community standards and upheld the ban. However, it objected to the “undefined” part of the ban, claiming that it is not within its own rules.
“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 kind of ban on Donald Trump was not following any clear procedure, the board went on. Furthermore, it argued that Facebook had issued “a vague, standardless penalty and then [referred] this case to the Board to resolve,” adding that doing so meant that it “seeks to avoid its responsibilities.”
The board also made a series of recommendations to the social network about how it should improve its policies, and Facebook promised to review them carefully.
After the announcement, Trump wrote on his new website that “what Facebook, Twitter, and Google have done is a total disgrace.” He also added: “Free speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the radical left lunatics are afraid of the truth.”
“The people of our country will not stand for it! These corrupt social media companies must pay a political price, and must never again be allowed to destroy and decimate our electoral process,” he went on.