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Will Donald Trump come back on Facebook? The decision to overturn ban now rests with Oversight Board

Yasmin Ahmed     January 22, 2021

Facebook has asked the Oversight Board to decide if it wants to overturn the indefinite ban on former US President Donald Trump. Facebook imposed an indefinite ban on Trump earlier this month, following the Capitol riots as he used the platform "to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.' The Oversight Board is a body that makes content moderation decisions on Facebook, specifically about handling appeals for blocked or removed content. The board's website notes that it is a separate entity from the Facebook company and will provide its independent judgment on both individual cases and questions of policy.

"The board was established last year to make the final call on some of the most difficult content decisions Facebook makes. It is an independent body and its decisions are binding they can't be overruled by CEO Mark Zuckerberg or anyone else at Facebook. The board itself is made up of experts and civic leaders from around the world with a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives," Nick Clegg, VP of Global Affairs noted in a blog post.

The board said in a press release cited by news agency PTI said, "A decision by the Board on this case will be binding on Facebook, and determine whether Mr Trump's suspension from access to Facebook and Instagram for an indefinite amount of time is overturned."

According to the Oversight Board, in the coming days, the case will be assigned to a five-member case review panel. 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. Clegg said that after the justification Facebook gave on banning Trump, the platform hopes that the oversight board will uphold the choices it made.

"We believe our decision was necessary and right. 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. While we await the board's decision, Mr Trump's access will remain suspended indefinitely," Clegg further said. The Oversight Board, also known as Facebook Supreme Court, announced its first members in May 2020 and started taking cases in December.

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