An internal review board at Facebook has upheld the social media giant’s decision to suspend President Donald Trump’s account.
Facebook’s Oversight Board on Wednesday upheld the company’s decision to prevent Trump from posting to the social media web site but said the decision to permanently suspend the account as inappropriate. The distinction is really without a difference as Trump’s inability to post to his Facebook and Instagram accounts essentially suspends them.
“The Board has upheld Facebook’s decision on January 7, 2021, to restrict then-President Donald Trump‘s access to posting content on his Facebook page and Instagram account,” the board said in its decision. “However, it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension.”
The oversight board is charged with reviewing enforcement and governance decisions on Facebook’s platforms and it has essentially handed the decision on Trump’s account back to Facebook to make a final decision.
Facebook initially blocked Trump’s account from posting after a January 6 rally in the nation’s capitol turned violent and a small contingent of Trump supporters rioted at and inside the Capitol. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg then expanded the ban to until January 20th when Trump left office and then referred the ban to the board at that time.
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The board, while technically independent of Facebook, operates with a $130 million trust from the company. As the time for a decision neared last month, the board extended its own deadline.
Whether and how Facebook chooses to implement the board’s direction remains to be seen. The board’s decision and the company’s actions will be watched closely around the world and across the internet.
Yesterday, in response to the decision by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to suspend his accounts, Trump launched a new web site to be able to communicate more freely with his supporters. While the new web site is not a full-fledged social media platform, the new Trump Desk web site is a possible first step towards that.
The website is https://www.donaldjtrump.com/desk and it contains a list of tweet-like statements from trump in recent weeks. The space will allow Trump to post comments, images, and videos.
The space allows Trump to post, and allows followers to share the former president’s posts to Twitter and Facebook, however, the new platform does not have a feature to allow users to “reply” or engage with Trump’s posts.
“This is just a one-way communication,” one source familiar with the space told Fox News. “This system allows Trump to communicate with his followers.”