Former US President Donald Trump’s ban from Facebook and Instagram has been upheld by Facebook’s Oversight Board on Wednesday.
The Board, however, criticised the permanent nature of the ban as beyond the scope of Facebook’s normal penalties.
It has ordered Facebook to review the decision and “justify a proportionate response” that is applied to everyone, including ordinary users.
The former president was banned from both sites in January following the Capitol Hill riots aftermath of the US presidential election outcome.
The Oversight Board said the initial decision to permanently suspend Mr Trump was “indeterminate and standardless”, and that the correct response should be “consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform”.
Facebook must respond within six months, it said.
At a press conference, Oversight Board co-chair, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, admitted: “We did not have an easy answer.”
The Board was due to announce its decision last month but delayed the ruling in order to review more than 9,000 public responses to cases, it said.
In the meantime, Mr Trump, who is also banned from Twitter, launched a new website on Tuesday to update supporters with his thoughts.
Implication of Ruling:
The ruling means that Mr Trump’s suspension remains in place for now.
The Oversight Board decided that Trump had broken Facebook’s community standards, and upheld the ban.
But the Board found the “indefinite” part of the ban as strange.
“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,” it said in a statement.
Applying that type of ban to Trump was not following any clear procedure, it said.
The Board argued that Facebook had essentially issued “a vague, standardless penalty and then [referred] this case to the Board to resolve”.
It said doing so meant “Facebook seeks to avoid its responsibilities” – and sent the decision back to Facebook.