Technology

Facebook Oversight Board accepts case on former US President Trump's indefinite suspension from Facebook and Instagram

A decision by the Board (that includes two Latinos, Brazilian Ronaldo Lemos and Colombian Catalina Botero-Marino) on this case will be binding on Facebook

Photo: Official White House photo by Tia Dufour
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  • Facebook must consider any accompanying policy recommendations from the Board, and publicly respond to them;
  • Members will decide whether the content involved in this case violated Facebook’s Community Standards and values.

Facebooks independent Oversight Board announced on Thursday that it has accepted a case referral from Facebook to examine their decision to indefinitely suspend former US President Donald Trump’s access to post content on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook has also requested policy recommendations from the Board on suspensions when the user is a political leader.

Facebook’s decision to suspend Mr. Trump’s access to post on Facebook and Instagram on January 7, 2021, has driven intense global interest. The Oversight Board has been closely following events in the United States and Facebook’s response to them. The board is ready to provide a thorough and independent assessment of the company’s decision.

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The board’s decision (that includes two Latinos, Brazilian Ronaldo Lemos and Colombian Catalina Botero-Marino) on this case will be binding on Facebook, and determine whether Trump’s suspension from access to Facebook and Instagram for an indefinite amount of time is overturned. Facebook has committed not to restore access to its platforms unless directed by the Oversight Board’s decision. Facebook must consider any accompanying policy recommendations from the Board, and publicly respond to them.

How will the Oversight Board decide on this case?

Over the coming days, the case will be assigned to a five-Member case review panel in accordance with our Bylaws and Rulebook. After the panel reaches a decision, its findings are shared with the entire Board. Sign-off by a majority of the Board is required for a case decision to be issued.

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Members will decide whether the content involved in this case violated Facebook’s Community Standards and values. They will also consider whether Facebook’s removal of the content respected international human rights standards, including on freedom of expression and other human rights.

Trump, through his designated page administrators, will have the ability to submit a user statement to the Board explaining why he believes Facebook’s content moderation decisions should be overturned. Facebook will also share contextual information and a detailed explanation for their existing content decisions in this case. The Board will also open a process for all interested individuals and organizations to submit public comments to share any insights and perspectives with the Board that they believe will assist with making a decision.

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The Board aims to move as promptly as possible while ensuring that the review process is thorough and principled. The Board’s Bylaws set an outer limit of 90 days as the time within which it must make a decision. As with all our cases, the Board is committed to being transparent about our work, and the case decision will be published on the Board’s website. The decision will present the key information used by the panel to reach a decision, along with an explanation on how the panel reached its final conclusions.

Following publication, Facebook will have up to seven days to implement the case decision. Facebook must also respond publicly to any policy recommendations the Board has made within its decision within 30 days.