Facebook upholds its ban on Trump for six more months – and he is not pleased
The company's independent oversight board announced on Wednesday that it has completed its review of the former president's ban from the platform – and will continue to block him for the next six months.
"The Board has upheld Facebook's decision on January 7, 2021, to restrict then-President Donald Trump’s access to posting content on his Facebook page and Instagram account," their statement said.
Yet, they claimed the decision to sanction him indefinitely was "not appropriate" and must be reviewed again within a six-month period, calling the open-ended suspension an "indeterminate and standardless penalty."
In a response to the continued bans, Trump launched his own blog page on Tuesday, which looks similar to Twitter but contains posts only from him.
"What Facebook, Twitter, and Google have done is a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our Country," Trump wrote on his new page in reaction to his extended ban.
"These corrupt social media companies must pay a political price, and must never again be allowed to destroy and decimate our Electoral Process."
Trump supporters protested outside of Facebook Headquarters in Manhattan on Wednesday following the board's decision.
Lawmakers also responded to the news and were divided along party lines. Many Republicans expressed outrage and felt Trump was being singled out and stripped of his right to free speech. At least one Congress member threatened that Facebook will "pay the price" for big tech going too far.
Oppositely, Democrats largely hailed the decision, with one Senator calling the censorship "a marker for truth and decency."
Trump was locked out of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube after being accused of inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol in Washington in January. Amazon immediately removed Parler, a pro-Trump social network, from its hosting service as well.
It followed the 74-year-old's unsubstantiated claims of election fraud as he lost to Joe Biden. He was subsequently impeached for the second time.
Trump's future on social media
Trump was banned indefinitely by Twitter "based on threats to physical safety," while YouTube has said it plans to unblock his profile when the risk of violence decreases.
Readers of Trump's new website blog have the option to repost his statements to Twitter or Facebook – but Twitter has said it will be vigilant in blocking any attempts to resurrect or replace a suspended account.
Facebook supported their board's review on Wednesday: "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."
They also promised to discuss a clear plan-of-action to reinstate him over the coming months.
Yet for now, "Mr. Trump’s accounts remain suspended," they added.
Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire