Facebook’s “indefinite” ban on Donald Trump could be lifted by the company’s Oversight Board, the company announced on Thursday.
The former US president’s Facebook and Instagram accounts were blocked in the wake of the US Capitol insurrection, due to concerns that Trump would use the platform to foment further violence.
At the time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the ban would remain in place at least until Joe Biden replaced him as president.
But now that the inauguration has taken place, the decision has been referred to the platform’s new Oversight Board, raising the possibility that his account could be reinstated.
The move was announced by Nick Clegg, Facebook’s global head of policy. In a blog post, the former British deputy prime minister said the account would remain suspended until the board made its ruling:
We look forward to receiving the board’s decision — and we hope, given the clear justification for our actions on January 7, that it will uphold the choices we made. In addition to the board’s determination on whether to uphold or overturn the indefinite suspension, Facebook welcomes any observations or recommendations from the board around suspensions when the user is a political leader.
The ruling will be the first major case for the board, which was launched last year to review Facebook’s content decisions. Its 20 members include a former Danish Prime Minister and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Trump’s case will be assigned to a five-member review panel, which will then share its findings with the entire board. Majority approval will be required to issue a decision, which will then be binding.
The Board’s decision on this case will be binding on Facebook and determine whether Mr. Trump’s indefinite suspension from access to Facebook and Instagram is overturned. Facebook has committed not to restore access to its platforms unless directed by a decision of the Board. 2/5
— Oversight Board (@OversightBoard) January 21, 2021