Earlier this week, former President Donald Trump was banned from Facebook for another six months by the social media giant’s Oversight Board. While the board banned Trump from accessing the website for another six months, they also left open the possibility of Trump returning to the service. In examining the issue, the Oversight Board ruled that Facebook acted appropriately in banning Trump for his role in instigating the Capitol riot on January 6.
Conversely, the Oversight Board also concluded that the website itself should rule on whether the ban is permanent or if Trump could be allowed to access his account in the future. In its findings, the board argued that Facebook’s “indefinite” ban on Trump was overly vague, recommending that the website implement a more concrete penalty for the former president. The board’s findings came mere hours after Trump himself launched a new blog on his website called From the Desk of Donald J. Trump, a new communication apparatus aimed at helping the former commander in chief talk directly with his biggest supporters.
Reaction to the Oversight Board’s recommendations came swiftly from conservative politicians. In a statement, Trump himself lashed out at the website, arguing that the ban was part of an effort by major tech companies to quell free speech. Trump further called for reforms to social media and appealed to his followers to donate to Save America, his fundraising initiative. Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, echoed his former boss’s opinion, telling Fox News that social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have too much control over the news cycle. Meanwhile, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted out a call for Congressional action, alleging that tech companies have become another arm of the Democratic Party.
Facebook itself has not responded to the Oversight Board’s recommendations, but Nick Clegg, a vice president with the company, said that he and his colleagues will determine if Trump is permanently banned from the website much more quickly than six months from now. During the 2020 election campaign, Trump spent $160 million on Facebook ads alone and the former president has amassed over 59 million followers. Following the Capitol riot, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that in his view, allowing Trump to use the service was too risky. In addition to Facebook, Trump is indefinitely banned from YouTube, who says that they will reinstate his account once he no longer poses a risk of violence. The former president remains permanently banned from Twitter and Snapchat.