- Facebook Oversight Board’s decision regarding President Trump’s account suspension (Case decision 2021-001-FB-FBR)
- What are the practical implications of this decision?
- What was the background?
- What did the Oversight Board decide?
- Case details
TMT analysis: The Facebook Oversight Board (the board) announced in May 2021 that it upheld Facebook’s decision to temporarily suspend Trump’s account following content he posted during the US Capitol riots on 6 January 2021, on the grounds that doing so was ‘necessary and proportionate to protect the rights of others’. However, the board held it was improper to impose an ‘indefinite suspension’ as a penalty. In its 35-page decision, the board set out a comprehensive review and recommendations as to next steps, with a focus on the importance of clarity and context. Facebook was given six months to review and modify its sanction against Trump, as ‘it is 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’. On 4 June 2021, Facebook released an official statement entitled In Response to Oversight Board, Trump Suspended for Two Years; Will Only Be Reinstated if Conditions Permit. In the statement, Facebook confirmed new enforcement protocols to be applied ‘in exceptional cases’ such as Mr Trump’s. The time-bound penalty of two years, backdated to 7 January, is consistent with those protocols given the ‘gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr Trump’s suspension’. Written by Kelsey Farish, associate at DAC Beachcroft LLP.
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