December 4, 2023

An independent body called the Facebook Oversight Board on Wednesday confirmed the ban on Facebook for former President Donald J. Trump, but said the company must review its decision to impose an indefinite suspension.

The company suspended Mr Trump’s account on Jan. 7 after using social media accounts to spread disinformation that sparked a crowd of supporters who attacked the Capitol the day before. The board gave Facebook six months to make its final decision on Mr. Trump’s account status.

Here are key facts about the Facebook Oversight Board and its decision:

The board consists of about 20 former political leaders, human rights activists and journalists who have been selected by Facebook to advise on the substantive decisions of the company. It started a year ago and is based in London.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg came up with the idea of ​​having an independent body that would act like a Supreme Court in 2018. The public should have the opportunity to appeal against decisions made by Facebook to remove content that violates Facebook’s policy on harmful and hateful content from posts. Mr Zuckerberg said neither he nor the company wanted the final decision on the speech.

The company and paid members of the board emphasize that the board of directors is independent. But Facebook is funding the board with a $ 130 million trust, and top executives played a huge role in its creation.

So far, the board has made a handful of decisions about minor shutdowns through Facebook. The majority of the rulings have overturned Facebook’s rulings.

Two weeks after Facebook decided to temporarily suspend Mr Trump’s account, the company announced it would refer the case to the Oversight Board for a final decision on the former president to be communicated to outsiders.

In a blog post, the company stated that executives had put Mr. Trump’s account on hold for violating the company’s policies on incitement to violence and that the deadly assault on the Capitol built on the company’s belief in a peaceful transition of government and contradicted the democratic process.

“We look forward to the board’s decision – and, given the clear justification of our actions on Jan. 7, we hope that the decisions we made will be confirmed,” said Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs at Facebook, in the Post.

The company has seven days to put the board’s decision into effect.

The board records cases that are referenced by Facebook or the public. The committee then selects five members who should first discuss each case, one of which is based in the home country represented by the case.

Members meet to discuss the case and review public comments. More than 9,000 comments have been submitted to Mr. Trump’s account. The board extended its 90-day decision on the Trump case due to the high volume of public comment. The board based its decision on two main criteria: If Facebook’s ban on Mr. Trump met the company’s community standards and complied with human rights law. If the smaller group of board members achieves a majority, the decision is submitted to the full board for a vote.

In the Trump case, Facebook also asked the board to make policy recommendations on how to deal with the accounts of political leaders. The company does not have to adopt the recommendations.

If Facebook follows its own rules, yes. The company has declared that all decisions of the Supervisory Board are binding and that even Mr. Zuckerberg cannot overturn the decisions. (Mr Trump was also permanently banned from Twitter, where he had around 88 million followers.)

However, there is no agency enforcing this agreement between Facebook and the board of directors. Facebook has rejected a recommendation from the board that dealt with the shutdown of a Covid-19 post. The company says recommendations are different from decisions and are non-binding.