An semi-independent Oversight Board says Facebook was justified in banning then-President Donald Trump from its platform after the Jan. 6 violent riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to a ruling on Wednesday.
Although, the Board would like the social network to “reassess how long the ban will remain in effect” against the GOP leader within the next six months.
The decision is a devastating blow to Trump’s chances of rejoining Facebook or Instagram in the near future.
“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,” the board said in its decision.
They went on to say Trump “created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible by maintaining a narrative that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent.”
However, the Board agreed it was not appropriate for Facebook to vary from its normal penalties when banning the former President.
“As Facebook suspended Mr. Trump’s accounts ‘indefinitely,’ the company must reassess this penalty,” the board said. “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.”
Facebook created the Oversight Board last year as a “supreme court” to hear appeals from users like Trump, who argue they’re entitle to free speech rights while posting on the site. “The Board, made up of 20 members from around the globe, are not binding, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to abide by what it says,” according to the social media giant.
Even if Facebook gives Trump a “green light” in the future, he’ll likely remain blocked on Twitter, YouTube and others sites that banned the President in wake of the Capitol attack.