Former President Donald Trump Is not returning to Facebook.
Facebook’s Oversight Board on Wednesday said the company was justified in suspending then-President Donald Trump from its platform on Jan. 7 but added that the company needed to take further action to clarify its penalties.
The board — an outside group founded and funded by Facebook that makes decisions regarding content moderation on the company’s sites — said the company was unfair by imposing an indeterminate suspension on Trump.
“Facebook cannot make up the rules as it goes, and anyone concerned about its power should be concerned about allowing this,” the board wrote in its decision. “Having clear rules that apply to all users and Facebook is essential for ensuring the company treats users fairly. This is what the Board stands for.”
Within 6 months of today, Facebook must 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.
— Oversight Board (@OversightBoard) May 5, 2021
The board says Facebook must decide on a suspension length or totally delete Trump’s account within six months.
The board clarified that should Facebook opt to impose a time-limited suspension, the company should “assess the risk” that Trump would again use the platform to incite violence.
“If the risk remains, Facebook should impose another suspension,” the board wrote in its decision.
The Oversight Board added that Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg should not restore Trump’s account simply because of his status as a former president.
“The ‘newsworthiness’ of a public figure’s remarks should never take priority over urgent action to prevent harm,” the board wrote. “Facebook must be far more transparent about how its newsworthiness policy works.”
Finally, the board ordered Facebook to conduct a review into the site’s contribution into spreading false claims of election fraud — claims that spurred Trump’s supporters to gather in Washington on Jan. 6 and then breach the U.S. Capitol in the hopes of stopping the certification of the 2020 election.
In a statement released Wednesday, Facebook said it would abide by the Oversight Board’s decision.
“We will now consider the board’s decision and determine an action that is clear and proportionate. In the meantime, Mr. Trump’s accounts remain suspended,” the statement read in part.