The Facebook Oversight Board has upheld the decision to ban Donald Trump from the platform. The ex-US President had his account suspended in January after a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol.
While the Oversight Board's decision has inflamed conservatives, it does come with a caveat. The board has told Facebook that it has to "rethink the ban's 'indefinite' nature". It has also questioned the "indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension". It has also "insisted" that the social media giant has six months to find a "proportionate response".
The board's statement read, "It is not permissible for Facebook to keep a user off the platform for an undefined period, with no criteria for when the account will be restored".
In response to the ruling, inflamed Republican's immediately threatened regulatory vengeance. Speaking to Fox News, former White House chief of staff for Trump, Mark Meadows, had this to say. "It's a sad day for Facebook because I can tell you, several members of Congress are now looking at: Do they break up Facebook? Do they make sure that they don't have a monopoly?
"I can tell you that it is two different standards – one for Donald Trump, and one for a number of other people that are on their sites and suggesting more nefarious things than what the president has been accused of, [and] actually go unnoticed, often."
As Donald Trump launches his new blog-style website to reach out to his followers, conservative Republicans have "Big Tech" in their sights. Meadows said, "It's a sad day for America, but a sadder day for the Facebooks of the world, who have actually enjoyed a very wild, wild West kind of regulatory environment. I can tell you that's going to change."
This ruling may have angered many on Team Trump, but the mogul still needs Facebook if he runs for President in 2024. While Twitter, from which he is still banned, may have been his voice, Facebook delivered fundraising power and a platform to mobilise supporters.
Facebook has pledged to follow the board's recommendations. VP of global affairs and communications, Nick Clegg, said, "we will consider the board's decision, and determine an action that is clear and proportionate. In the meantime, Mr Trump's accounts remain suspended."
With rumours circulating that Trump will run for re-election in 2024, it will be interesting to see how the state of play unfolds.