Facebook was justified in banning then-President Donald Trump from its platform after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol but will need to reassess how long the ban will remain in effect, the social network’s quasi-independent Oversight Board said Wednesday.
The decision is a blow to Trump's hopes to post again to Facebook or Instagram any time soon, but it also opens the door to him eventually returning.
Facebook created the Oversight Board last year as a kind of "supreme court" to hear appeals from users like Trump who have had their posts removed or who want to challenge other sensitive or contentious moderation decisions. The decisions of the 20-member globe-spanning board are not binding, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to abide by what it says.
“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.
The oversight board said, though, it was not appropriate for Facebook to vary from its normal penalties when it made the ban indefinite. Facebook’s normal penalties include removing posts, imposing a limited suspension or permanently disabling an account, the board said.
“As Facebook suspended Mr. Trump’s accounts ‘indefinitely,’ the company must reassess this penalty,” the board said.
This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.