Trump's Facebook suspension upheld by oversight board

Former President Donald Trump
(Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump isn't returning to Facebook just yet.

Facebook's Oversight Board announced Wednesday it has decided to uphold the platform's suspension of Trump.

At the same time, the board also ruled that it "was not appropriate" for Facebook to indefinitely suspend Trump because it's "not permissible for Facebook to keep a user off the platform for an undefined period, with no criteria for when or whether the account will be restored." The board calls for Facebook to "reexamine the arbitrary penalty it imposed" on Trump and decide on an "appropriate penalty" within six months.

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Trump was indefinitely suspended from Facebook in January due to his actions surrounding the Capitol riot, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg citing his "use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government" and saying that "the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great."

Later in January, Facebook referred this decision to its Oversight Board, a body that acts as a sort of Supreme Court for moderation decisions. But the board on Wednesday called out Facebook for trying to "avoid its responsibilities" by referring the suspension to them.

"The board declines Facebook's request and insists that Facebook apply and justify a defined penalty," the board said.

Trump was also banned from Twitter in the wake of the Capitol riot. But while Facebook implemented an indefinite suspension, Twitter said from the beginning that Trump's ban was permanent. The decision to uphold the Facebook suspension will likely come as a blow for Trump, as Axios reported the former president and his allies have seen potentially getting back on the platform as "the propellant for an increasingly likely second presidential campaign in 2024."

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