Facebook oversight board to rule on Trump social media ban Wednesday

OAKLAND, Calif. (NewsNation Now) — Facebook’s independent oversight board said it will issue a ruling Wednesday on whether to uphold former President Donald Trump’s indefinite suspension from the social network and Instagram.

Facebook blocked Trump’s access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts over concerns the former president’s words could incite violence and unrest after his supporters sieged the Capitol on Jan. 6. Rioters battled with police, smashed windows, and sent lawmakers fleeing. Five people, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, died in the violence.

Facebook handed the case over to the oversight board soon after instituting the ban on Trump. The company created the board last year in response to criticism over its handling of problematic content.

The Trump decision was originally due April 21 but the board postponed the deadline saying, “we extended the public comments deadline for this case, receiving 9,000+ responses.”

Trump has remained suspended on Facebook and Instagram while the board reviews the decision.

Facebook regularly takes down posts and accounts. Reuters reports the social media company purged 1.3 billion fake accounts between October and December 2020. The independent board is prioritizing for review select cases that have the potential to affect lots of users around the world.

The board issued its first rulings in January, overturning four out of the five decisions by the social network to take down questionable content. In its initial batch of rulings, the board ordered Facebook to restore posts by users that the company said broke standards on adult nudity, hate speech or dangerous individuals.

Twitter also banned Trump’s account in January, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence” following the deadly insurrection. Trump was also banned from other social media platforms including Snapchat, Reddit and Youtube.

A senior adviser to the former president said in March that Trump plans to launch his own social media platform in two or three months. Trump also opened an “Office of the Former President” in January that handles his duties as former president and to further his administration’s agenda.