A ban on Donald Trump’s use of Facebook was confirmed by the social network’s board of directors – although the group raised concerns about the indefinite duration of the measure.
The former US president was indefinitely banned from the platform after violent clashes in the US Capitol on January 6, for which Mr Trump was blamed.
Videos shared on the 74-year-old’s social accounts called those who stormed the Capitol “patriots” and said, “We love you.”
The incident resulted in the death of five people.
The Board concluded that two posts from Mr. Trump “seriously violated” Facebook’s community standard, but said it was “inappropriate” for the social network to have “the indefinite and standard penalty of indefinite suspension” imposed.
“Given the seriousness of the violations and the continuing risk of violence, Facebook was entitled to suspend Mr. Trump’s accounts on January 6th and to extend that suspension on January 7th,” the board said.
“However, it was inappropriate for Facebook to impose an ‘indefinite’ suspension.
“Facebook is not allowed to keep a user off the platform for an indefinite period of time without any criteria as to when or whether the account will be restored.”
Sir Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs and communications, said the company was “pleased” that the board of directors recognized the “unprecedented circumstances”.
“While the board did not request that Facebook restore Mr. Trump’s accounts immediately, it did not specify the appropriate length of the sentence,” he said.
“We will now examine the decision of the Board of Directors and determine a clear and proportionate measure. In the meantime, Mr. Trump’s accounts remain on hold. “
Facebook set up the panel last year, often likened to a Supreme Court made up of independent experts from diverse backgrounds who are given the power to override the tech giant’s actions on sensitive content moderation issues – even that of CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Individuals can appeal to the panel if they believe that content has been removed in error.
Their conclusions are binding, which means Facebook has seven days to reverse any moves – unless it could be against the law.
The board is made up of a range of experts from various fields, from government and journalism to digital rights and law.
Former Guardian Editor-in-Chief Alan Rusbridger and former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt are among its members.
The tech giant has six months to complete a review.
When Mr Zuckerberg announced the move in January, he said a ban was in place because Mr Trump had used the platform to “instigate violent uprisings against a democratically elected government.”
The former US President launched his own blog-like communication channel after losing access to all of the social networks he used extensively before and during his tenure at the White House.