Ruling on Trump Facebook Ban Coming in ‘Weeks:’ Oversight Board

April 16, 2021 Updated: April 19, 2021

Facebook’s Supreme Court equivalent is set to announce its decision on whether to overturn the suspension of former President Donald Trump in weeks, it announced on Friday.

The independent Oversight Board, which has the power to overrule Facebook, is reviewing the technology giant’s January move to indefinitely suspend Trump from the social media platform.

The board typically rules on cases within 90 days of referrals. Facebook referred the ban to the board on Jan. 21.

“The Board will announce its decision on the case concerning former US President Trump’s indefinite suspension from Facebook and Instagram in the coming weeks. We extended the public comments deadline for this case, receiving 9,000+ responses,” the board said in its new statement.

“The Board’s commitment to carefully reviewing all comments has extended the case timeline, in line with the Board’s bylaws. We will share more information soon.”

Members of the public were told on Jan. 29 that they could submit comments on the suspension by Feb. 8.

Five members of the board are reviewing the case, but their decision must be signed off by a majority of the board.

Facebook initially blocked Trump from his account on Jan. 7, a day after a group that included some of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington. “We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the time, claiming that Trump decided “to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building.”

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees Joint Hearing in Washington on April 10, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

In one video, Trump told people who stormed the Capitol to “go home peacefully” but also said “we love you” and “you’re very special.”

Facebook later said Trump was banned indefinitely. The company has since moved to scrub any content “posted in the voice of Donald Trump,” such as an interview conducted by his daughter-in-law.

Trump has called his remarks in the wake of the breach “totally appropriate.”

Big Tech, which includes Facebook, is “doing a horrible thing to our country,” he added while speaking to reporters while still in office, calling the suspension “a catastrophic mistake.”

Trump is working on a social media alternative to Facebook, former and current advisers have said. The ex-president enjoyed a large following on Facebook and Twitter, which also banned him.

While Trump could be allowed back on Facebook, Twitter’s chief financial officer, Ned Segal, said earlier this year that he will never be able to rejoin the platform, even if he runs for president in 2024.

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