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Facebook Oversight Board upholds decision to suspend Donald Trump, with a caveat

Facebook's Oversight Board on Wednesday upheld the social media company's decision to suspend former US President Donald Trump from its platform. The Board added, though, that a permanent suspension was an action taken in the absence of standards. "[I]t was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension," the decision said. "The Board insists that Facebook review this matter to determine and justify a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform." The decision elaborated: The Board found that, in maintaining an unfounded narrative of electoral fraud and persistent calls to action, Mr. Trump created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible. At the time of Mr. Trump’s posts, there was a clear, immediate risk of harm and his words of support for those involved in the riots legitimized their violent actions. As president, Mr. Trump had a high level of influence. The reach of his posts was large, with 35 million followers on Facebook and 24 million on Instagram. Given the seriousness of the violations and the ongoing risk of violence, Facebook was justified in suspending Mr. Trump’s accounts on January 6 and extending that suspension on January 7. However, it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose an ‘indefinite’ suspension. — Facebook Oversight Board It's key to note that the Board's problem isn't that Facebook opted to get rid of Trump indefinitely — its criticism is that Facebook took a…

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