Facebook Refers Trump Account Suspension to Oversight Board -- Update
By Sarah E. Needleman
Facebook Inc. has referred its decision to indefinitely suspend
the accounts of former President Donald Trump to its outside
oversight board, as the company grapples with how to treat one of
its highest-profile users after his exit from public office.
Earlier this month the social-media giant moved to disable Mr.
Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts for at least two weeks,
after he egged on supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol seeking
to keep him in power in a Jan. 6 attack that left five dead. Chief
Executive Mark Zuckerberg said at the time that the risks of Mr.
Trump's using the platform through Inauguration Day were too
"We believe our decision was necessary and right," Facebook said
in a blog post Thursday, one day after the swearing-in of President
Joe Biden. "Given its significance, we think it is important for
the board to review it and reach an independent judgment on whether
it should be upheld."
Facebook said Mr. Trump's accounts would remain suspended while
a five-member panel of the oversight board determines in the coming
days whether certain posts he made before to the riot had violated
the company's community standards and values. The panel will also
determine whether Facebook's removal of those posts respected
international human-rights standards. Mr. Trump's Facebook account
has more than 35 million followers and his personal Instagram
account nearly 25 million.
During this time, Mr. Trump will have the opportunity to submit
a statement to the independent panel on why he believes Facebook's
content moderation decisions should be overturned, the company
said. Members of the public will also be able to share their
insights and perspectives with the panel, it said.
The review of Mr. Trump's accounts mark the biggest issue the
oversight board has addressed since it was established last year to
help Facebook make the final call on difficult content decisions.
Although Facebook established the board's funding and created its
structure, neither Mr. Zuckerberg nor anyone else at the company
can overrule its decisions. Facebook said the board's members are
experts and civic leaders from around the world with diverse
backgrounds and perspectives.
Write to Sarah E. Needleman at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 21, 2021 13:54 ET (18:54 GMT)
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