Earlier this month, Facebook caused shockwaves around the web when it decided to indefinitely suspend the account of then-President Donald Trump. And while Facebook has vehemently defended its decision, it also wants to make sure that it was the right one. That’s why the social media giant referred the incident to its independent content Oversight Board this week to make the final decision on whether Trump can ever rejoin the platform.
The independent board, comprised of experts in human rights, law, journalism, and technology, has the power to make Facebook comply with its ruling no matter what. For its part, Facebook published a lengthy blog post this week explaining both its decision to ban President Trump and also its referral to the Oversight Board.
“Our decision to suspend then-President Trump’s access was taken in extraordinary circumstances: a US president actively fomenting a violent insurrection designed to thwart the peaceful transition of power; five people killed; legislators fleeing the seat of democracy,” Facebook VP of Global Affairs Nick Clegg wrote. “This has never happened before — and we hope it will never happen again.”
This is almost certainly the most high-profile ruling that the Oversight Board will ever have to make, and it comes within the first six months of the group’s existence. It will cause controversy no matter what they decide, but at least Facebook has a more independent authority now to lean upon for answers.
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