WEDNESDAY 5/5/2021 7:05 a.m.

(ABC4) – The Facebook Oversight Board has decided to uphold the platform’s decision to restrict former President Donald Trump’s access to his account, as well as his Instagram account.

While upholding the decision, the board says:

However, it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension. Facebook’s normal penalties include removing the violating content, imposing a time-bound period of suspension, or permanently disabling the page and account.

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. Facebook must complete its review of this matter within six months of the date of this decision. The Board also made policy recommendations for Facebook to implement in developing clear, necessary, and proportionate policies that promote public safety and respect freedom of expression.

The board says it reviewed multiple posts Trump made on January 6 during the U.S. Capitol riot. Of those, it says two “severely violated Facebook’s Community Standards and Instagram’s Community Guidelines.”

Additionally, the board found “Mr. Trump created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible” while “maintaining an unfounded narrative of electoral fraud and persistent calls to action.”

The board continues: “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.”

While still upholding the suspension, the oversight board remarks that “it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose an ‘indefinite’ suspension.”

“In applying this penalty, Facebook did not follow a clear, published procedure. ‘Indefinite’ suspensions are not described in the company’s content policies. Facebook’s normal penalties include removing the violating content, imposing a time-bound period of suspension, or permanently disabling the page and account.”

As part of the oversight board’s decision, Facebook is now required to “reexamine the arbitrary penalty it imposed on January 7 and decide the appropriate penalty” within the next six months. The board says the penalty must be consistent with “Facebook’s rules for severe violations, which must, in turn, be clear, necessary and proportionate.”

“If Facebook decides to restore Mr. Trump’s accounts, the company should apply its rules to that decision, including any changes made in response to the Board’s policy recommendations below. In this scenario, Facebook must address any further violations promptly and in accordance with its established content policies.”

The oversight board does explain that while the same rules should apply to all Facebook users, “context matters” and, “when posts by influential users pose a high probability of imminent harm, Facebook should act quickly to enforce its rules.”

Trump responded to the board’s decision to uphold his ban from the social media platform, saying,

“What Facebook, Twitter, and Google have done is a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our Country. Free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth, but the truth will come out anyway, bigger and stronger than ever before. The People of our Country will not stand for it! These corrupt social media companies must pay a political price, and must never again be allowed to destroy and decimate our Electoral Process.”

Original Story: Will Trump get his Facebook account back?

WEDNESDAY 5/5/2021 6:38 a.m.

(ABC4) – It has been almost four months since former President Donald Trump was kicked off of virtually every social media platform following the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol in early January. Now, he may regain access to one of those platforms.

The largest of those platforms – Facebook – could allow Trump back on. On Wednesday, the company’s Oversight Board will announce its ruling around 7 a.m. MT. If it rules in Trump’s favor, Facebook will have one week to reinstate his account, according to the Associated Press. If it rules against Trump, his “indefinite” suspension will remain in place.

Reports surfaced in March that Trump would launch his own social media platform that would “completely redefine the game.” Trump and former first lady Melania Trump have launched a website for their personal offices –

The former president has also shifted to create his own “communications platform.” On his existing website, “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” a new subsection has been added that features a blog.

According to team Trump, the outlet will enable the former president to continue sharing his thoughts and opinions despite being blocked indefinitely from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.

But what are the chances that Trump will get his Facebook account back?

When Facebook, and the company’s other platform, Instagram, silenced Trump’s accounts in January, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the risk of allowing him to continue using the platform was too great.

Still, Trump has a pretty good chance of getting back on the platform.

Facebook originally created the oversight panel to rule on content on its platforms following widespread criticism of its difficulty responding swiftly and effectively to misinformation, hate speech, and nefarious influence campaigns. Its decisions so far — all nine of them — have tended to favor free expression over the restriction of content, according to the Associated Press.

Wednesday morning, ahead of the oversight panel’s decision, #DeleteFacebook is trending on Twitter.

“Your reminder today is #DeleteFacebook day,” one user says. “The fact that Facebook is even considering bringing back Trump should make you leave the platform if you haven’t already,” says another.

Others are reacting to the call to delete Facebook, with one saying “What harm does it do to your life if a man has a Facebook account?”

ABC4 will stream the Facebook Oversight Board’s decision in the video player above starting at 7 a.m. MT.