Trump calls continuing Facebook ban ‘a total disgrace’ as suspension upheld


Facebook’s oversight board has upheld the indefinite suspension on former US President Donald Trump.

The board has upheld Facebook’s decision on 7 January to restrict Mr Trump’s access to posting content on his Facebook page and Instagram account.

Mr Trump was banned from a number of social media platforms after his supporters stormed the US Capitol on 6 January.

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Facebook’s oversight board has upheld the indefinite suspension on former US President Donald Trump.

Twitter has already said its ban is permanent, regardless of whether he runs for office in future, while YouTube will restore the former president’s channel when the risk of violence has decreased.

Facebook was due to announce its decision last month but delayed the ruling in order to review over 9,000 public responses.

At the time Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg said: “We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”

The ruling cannot be appealed or overruled by any Facebook employee.

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The oversight board was set up by Mr Zuckerberg to rule on difficult or controversial moderation decisions made by Facebook.

The board operates independently and is made up of journalists, human right activists, lawyers and academics.

In giving the decision the oversight board also criticised Facebook.

“It was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension,” the ruling said.

“Facebook’s normal penalties include removing the violating content, imposing a time-bound period of suspension, or permanently disabling the page and account.

“Facebook must complete its review of this matter within six months of the date of this decision.”

This week, the former president launched a space on his website where he posts messages that can be shared by others on their own social networking pages.

From The Desk Of Donald J Trump
From The Desk Of Donald J Trump

The website is called From The Desk Of Donald J Trump, and is built by Campaign Nucleus, a digital services company created by Mr Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale.

The content of Mr Trump’s posts so far will not surprise supporters or opponents – he repeats his false claims about voter fraud in the last presidential election, and his criticism of Republicans who have not supported him.

He calls Mitt Romney a “stone-cold loser” and Liz Cheney a “big-shot warmonger”.

Trump has also continued to repeat unproven claims of election fraud that contributed to his bans, issuing several statements on Monday through his Save America political committee.

One statement said: “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as the big lie.”

Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs and communications at Facebook, said: “As we stated in January, we believe our decision was necessary and right, and we’re pleased the board has recognized that the unprecedented circumstances justified the exceptional measure we took.

“However, while the board has not required Facebook to immediately restore Mr Trump’s accounts, it has not specified the appropriate duration of the penalty.

“Instead, the board criticized the open-ended nature of the suspension, calling it an “indeterminate and standardless penalty,” and insisted we review our response.

“We will now consider the board’s decision and determine an action that is clear and proportionate.

“We actively sought the board’s views on our policies around political figures and will carefully review its recommendations.

“We thank the board for the care and attention it gave this case.”