Trump's Facebook (FB) Ban Upheld, Oversight Board Asks Company to Come Up With a 'Proportionate Response' Going Forward

May 5, 2021 10:04 AM EDT

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Facebook’s (NASDAQ: FB) Oversight Board upheld the company’s decision from January this year to restrict then-President Donald Trump’s access to his Facebook page and Instagram account.

However, the social media company was wrong for imposing the “indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension.”

“Facebook’s normal penalties include removing the violating content, imposing a time-bound period of suspension, or permanently disabling the page and account,” it is said in the decision statement.

Facebook has been given six months to come up with and justify “a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform,” as it failed to do so in the past.

“The Board also made policy recommendations for Facebook to implement in developing clear, necessary, and proportionate policies that promote public safety and respect freedom of expression,” it is further added.

The Board’s review found that the two posts by Mr. Trump on January 6 “severely violated Facebook’s Community Standards and Instagram’s Community Guidelines.”

Trump wrote “We love you. You’re very special,” in the first post and “great patriots” and “remember this day forever” in the second post.

“The Board found that, in maintaining an unfounded narrative of electoral fraud and persistent calls to action, Mr. Trump created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible. At the time of Mr. Trump’s posts, there was a clear, immediate risk of harm and his words of support for those involved in the riots legitimized their violent actions. As president, Mr. Trump had a high level of influence. The reach of his posts was large, with 35 million followers on Facebook and 24 million on Instagram.”

“Given the seriousness of the violations and the ongoing risk of violence, Facebook was justified in suspending Mr. Trump’s accounts on January 6 and extending that suspension on January 7. However, it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose an ‘indefinite’ suspension.”

Facebook is up 0.3% on the day.

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