Libby Emmons
May 5, 2021
-The Post Millennial
The Facebook Oversight Board announced their ruling today that they would uphold Facebook’s January ban on former President Trump. In so doing, they said that the way the ban was implemented was inappropriate, and that Facebook had to review the decision in six months.

While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had implemented the Oversight Board in order to not have to take on the responsibility of the decisions either himself or on the company, this returns the decision directly to his desk.

They said that “Trump’s posts during the Capitol riot severely violated Facebook’s rules and encouraged and legitimized violence.”


In announcing their decision, the Oversight Board said that Trump was not the only rules violator, but that “Facebook violated its own rules by imposing a suspension that was ‘indefinite.’

That penalty, they wrote, “is not described in Facebook’s content policies. It has no clear criteria and gives Facebook total discretion on when to impose or lift it.”

As a result, the Board found that Facebook should “review this matter and decide a new penalty that reflects its rules, the severity of the violation, and prospect of future harm. Facebook can either impose a time-limited suspension or account deletion.”

“Facebook,” the Board wrote, “cannot make up the rules as it goes.” However, the industry itself is unregulated, and Facebook has been at the forefront of social media. They have been making up the rules as they go along, because that has been the only option.

The Oversight Board said that instead of an indefinite ban, Facebook should either impose a ban with a set limit or delete the account altogether, not leave the account in limbo.

A time limited suspension, the Board wrote, wouldn’t mean that a more permanent deletion couldn’t still be implemented once that short-term ban was lifted.

However, the Board said that “The ‘newsworthiness’ of a public figure’s remarks should never take priority over urgent action to prevent harm. Facebook must be far more transparent about how its newsworthiness policy works.”

The Board also cautioned against censorship.