MENLO PARK, Ca – Facebook can keep blocking President Trump from using its platform, the social network’s court-like Oversight Board said Wednesday.
The landmark move affirms the company’s decision to suspend Trump in January after the US Capitol riots.
However, the board said Facebook must review the decision within six months.
“Within six months of this decision, Facebook must reexamine the arbitrary penalty it imposed on January 7 and decide the appropriate penalty,” the board wrote in its decision. “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.”
The board also criticized Facebook for having made the suspension indefinite.
“In applying a vague, standardless penalty and then referring this case to the Board to resolve, Facebook seeks to avoid its responsibilities,” the decision said.
The decision also applies to Facebook-owned Instagram where Trump has an account. Trump has almost 60 million followers across Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook suspended Trump’s account following the Jan. 6 Capitol riots and later referred that decision to the board, an independent body which has the power to reverse Facebook content decisions and set precedent for the company.