Donald Trump Facebook Suspension Upheld by Oversight Board Ruling

Facebook’s decision to suspend Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts was upheld by the company’s Overnight Board. But Trump could get a rehearing in the case later this year.

Facebook’s Oversight Board, the independent body established by the social giant to review content-policy decisions, on Wednesday issued a ruling upholding Facebook’s January decision to suspend the former U.S. president. Trump was suspended from Facebook and Instagram over his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol seeking to overturn the 2020 election.

“The Board found that, in maintaining an unfounded narrative of electoral fraud and persistent calls to action, Mr. Trump created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible,” the board said in a statement. “At the time of Mr. Trump’s posts, there was a clear, immediate risk of harm and his words of support for those involved in the riots legitimized their violent actions.”

Facebook temporarily froze Trump’s accounts on Jan. 7 through at least President Biden’s inauguration, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg citing the potential for ongoing violence for the decision. “We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Zuckerberg said at the time. Twitter banned Trump permanently on Jan. 8, while other internet companies have taken similar actions to “deplatform” him.

Two weeks later, Facebook said the company was referring the decision about whether Trump’s accounts would be reinstated to its Oversight Board, the. 20-member organization composed of lawyers, academics and industry experts.

The Oversight Board said it received more than 9,000 public comments about Trump’s status at Facebook.

Critics have long called on Facebook to ban Trump to stop the spread of misinformation — including Trump’s repeated false assertion that the 2020 election was somehow rigged against him — and inflammatory rhetoric. Conservatives have blasted moves to deplatform Trump as infringing his political speech.

Facebook established the Oversight Board, which some have referred to as “Facebook’s Supreme Court,” to take that responsibility out of the hands of the social giant’s executives. Under the Oversight Board’s charter, the decisions it makes are binding and, allegedly, cannot be overruled by Zuckerberg or anyone else at Facebook.

Trump’s Facebook page currently has 35.2 million followers. His most recent post is from Jan. 6, when he addressed the mob at the Capitol,, writing, “.I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”

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