Oversight Board reviewing Trump Facebook ban, considering a public profile

Facebook’s Oversight Board investigating former President Donald Trump’s banishment from the social platform will need to determine if a person’s public profile should be considered in the ability to comment, according to a board member.

The Oversight Board was looking into an appeal concerning Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a former Danish prime minister, told The Wall Street Journal the Oversight Board was discussing issues such as whether there should be certain limitations for politicians.

“We will look into all these issues and come back with a decision that I know for sure will be [divisive] because some will agree, some will disagree,” Thorning-Schmidt said, per Newsweek.

“Basically it’s up to us now to determine whether Trump should be excluded from Facebook forever, or without a set date where he could return.”

Facebook suspended Trump’s account after demonstrators protesting the election outcome stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. The next day, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company’s decision to suspend the then-president’s account.

Zuckerberg said Facebook had allowed Trump to use the platform previously, despite some questionable posts that received a warning label, because “we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech.”

The Capitol riot, however, changed things.

“We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Zuckerberg said then.

Thorning-Schmidt declined to say whether the board was leaning one way or another on a decision regarding Trump’s account. 

The Oversight Board, made up of 19 members from a variety of backgrounds and professions, rules on appeals concerning the platform’s moderation decisions.

“We are a very diverse bunch of people on the board, we are very global,” Thorning-Schmidt said. “We also try to balance the board politically so we come from different parts of the political spectrum. So I really hope that it won’t be politicized, but I come from politics so I’m not naive.”