The oversight board will announce a decision around 9 AM ET.
Trump was suspended indefinitely following the Jan. 6 siege on the Capitol. He was impeached for a second time for inciting the unrest, but acquitted by the Senate. Other social media platforms followed in restricting Trump’s accounts, and he was banned outright from Twitter.
The Oversight Board was set up to handle appeals of company decisions. Facebook referred its decision to the board on Jan. 21, but kept Trump’s suspension in place in the meantime.
“We believe our decision was necessary and right,” wrote Facebook’s Nick Clegg. “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.”
“We have taken the view that in open democracies people have a right to hear what their politicians are saying — the good, the bad and the ugly — so that they can be held to account,” Clegg wrote. “But it has never meant that politicians can say whatever they like. They remain subject to our policies banning the use of our platform to incite violence. It is these policies that were enforced when we took the decision to suspend President Trump’s access.”
The Oversight Board was set up by the company to act as a neutral third party on content moderation decisions. It includes experts on technology, legal affairs, free speech, journalism and digital rights, many from academia and foundation. One recent addition was Suzanne Nossel, the CEO of PEN America. The board appoints a smaller panel to review cases. The decision is binding, meaning that Facebook would have to reinstate Trump’s account if its January decision is reversed.
In the wake of the attack on the Capitol, Facebook initially suspended Trump, but later made the ban indefinite. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the then-president had used the platform to “incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.”
Trump, meanwhile, continued to claim, without evidence, that the election was rigged. His office put out a tweet-like statement in which he said, “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who voted to impeach Trump, tweeted on Monday, “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”