Facebook Oversight Committee announces ruling on Donald Trump’s account

Carter Mudgett, Government Reporter

On May 5, the Facebook Oversight Committee released their review of Facebook’s suspension of Donald Trump in which they ultimately decided to uphold the ban. However, they noted that it was “not appropriate” to make the ban indefinite. Facebook must return to the matter in six months to review the decision. 

Facebook originally banned Trump from their platforms after the storming of the United States capital by Trump supporters. The ban was set to last indefinitely on both Facebook and Instagram and was because of concerns over further violent unrest after the Capitol riot

Trump called his ban across social media platforms “a total disgrace” and stated that companies “would pay a political price.”

Screenshot of Case Decision 2021-001-FB-FBR courtesy of the Oversight Board website

In the case file, the board stated: 

“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.”

The suspension removed two posts that Trump had made during the Capitol riot. A video where Trump repeated his false claim of voter fraud, saying “ “I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us,” was also taken down. 

Former federal Judge Michael McConnell, the co-chair of the Oversight Board, elaborated on the board’s decision in a press conference after publishing its decision. “Indefinite penalties of this sort do not pass the international or American smell test for clarity, consistency, and transparency.”

The board also added policy recommendations for Facebook to “implement in developing clear, necessary, and proportionate policies that promote public safety and respect freedom of expression.” It calls on Facebook to further develop a policy that helps to handle situations where any existing rules are inadequate in preventing impending danger. 

View the full case file from the board here.


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