Facebook oversight board to reveal decision on Trump ban on Wednesday

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Facebook’s “Oversight Board” said Monday that its decision on whether to keep former US President Donald Trump blocked from its social media platforms will come Wednesday. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the decision to block Trump from Facebook and Instagram on Jan. 7, one day after a group of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol in a bloody and deadly riot. 

“The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,” Zuckerberg wrote in the announcement. 

In the same week, Twitter announced the decision to permanently ban Trump from its platform. 

Later in January, Facebook defended its blocking of the former president, and said it was referring the call on whether to make the ban permanent to the company’s independent Oversight Board, which is made up of 20 “members from a variety of cultural and professional backgrounds,” according to its website. 

“The board was established last year to make the final call on some of the most difficult content decisions Facebook makes,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs and communications, wrote in January. “It is an independent body and its decisions are binding — they can’t be overruled by CEO Mark Zuckerberg or anyone else at Facebook.”

Clegg acknowledged that the social media titan’s decision to silence a world leader was controversial and called for greater deliberation. 

“Whether you believe the decision was justified or not, many people are understandably uncomfortable with the idea that tech companies have the power to ban elected leaders. Many argue private companies like Facebook shouldn’t be making these big decisions on their own,” he wrote. “We agree.”

As of Monday, Trump remains blocked from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Wednesday’s ruling could reinstate his accounts on Facebook and Instagram.

In April, the board said it had extended the public comment period on the Trump case. It added that it had received over 9,000 comments, more than any other case.

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