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Facebook independent Oversight Board expected to announce Trump ban decision Wednesday

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National News Alert
National News Alert
 2021-05-04

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(Stephen Lam/Getty Images)

By Brian Brant

Facebook's independent Oversight Board is expected to announce its decision on whether to permit or uphold its decision to ban former President Donald Trump from its platform on Wednesday, according to NPR.

The social media company's decision comes months after Trump was banned from both Facebook and Instagram after the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot. However, NPR reports Facebook grew weary of the former president's usage of disinformation and doubts in his election defeat.

"We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote at the time.

Nick Clegg, the company's vice president for global affairs and communications, then told NPR that the company's decision was warranted.

"We believe we took the right decision," he said. "We think it was entirely justified by the unprecedented circumstances on that day."

Clegg and Zuckerberg were concerned over any single company could have the power to control online speech, especially an elected leader who has billions of users on the platform.

Facebook, which created its Oversight Board a year ago, received more than 9,000 public comments over Trump's account. The final decision must be approved by a majority of the five members of the 20-person full board.

The case is expected to also set a precedent for how Facebook will treat other world leaders and politicians and could be a model for other platforms.

"We know that they care a lot about international human rights law, and we know that they care a lot about freedom of expression," said Kate Klonick, an assistant professor of law at St. John's University, of the Oversight Board members. "But we don't know how that's going to impact when you have special circumstances like the one that they're dealing with in the Trump case."