By: Amy Jo Underwood
Facebook announced that it will keep the accounts of former President Donald Trump suspended from its platform, but will reassess at some point to “determine and justify a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform.”
Facebook suspended the social media accounts of then-President Donald Trump following the Capitol riot on January 6, stating that “We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”
Months later, Facebook has decided to keep Trump’s accounts suspended for the time being, but will reassess at a later date and determine the next steps.
Facebook handed the situation to an oversight board, stating that “we think it is important for the board to review it and reach an independent judgment on whether it should be upheld.” According to CNBC, “A randomly selected but diverse group of five board members were chosen to deliberate on the case, and the recommendation had to be voted favorably by a majority of the full 20-member oversight board.” Facebook agreed that it would abide by the findings of the advisory board.
Facebook’s independent oversight board stated this month that “In applying a vague, standardless penalty and then referring this case to the Board to resolve, Facebook seeks to avoid its responsibilities.” They added that, “The Board declines Facebook’s request and insists that Facebook apply and justify a defined penalty.” However, the board upheld the Trump ban while advising Facebook to clarify its policies.
Kay James, President of the Heritage Foundation, stated, "The Oversight Board’s decision to uphold the suspension is the wrong one, and one that all Americans, regardless of political affiliation, should be concerned about. However, it was entirely appropriate to admonish Facebook's vague and standardless penalty. Big Tech companies should not be allowed to play by a set of rules that give them undue influence over American society while also avoiding any accountability for how they use that influence."
“What Facebook, Twitter, and Google have done is a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our Country. Free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth, but the truth will come out anyway, bigger and stronger than ever before. The People of our Country will not stand for it! These corrupt social media companies must pay a political price, and must never again be allowed to destroy and decimate our Electoral Process.” - Donald Trump