Facebook announced on Thursday that the company's independent oversight board will review the decision to permanently suspend the Instagram and Facebook accounts of former US President Donald Trump.
Trump's social media accounts were banned shortly after the storming of the Capitol on January 6.
And Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, announced on January 7 that freezing Trump's Facebook account would be "indefinitely and for the next two weeks at least until the peaceful transfer of power is complete."
Now, two weeks later, Facebook is asking the independent oversight board to determine whether Trump's accounts should be permanently suspended.
It will also determine whether Facebook's behavior violated "international human rights standards," according to a press release issued by the Supervisory Board.
Facebook has in the past taken action against the former president's posts, but this is the first time that the censorship board has reviewed this issue.
The board has up to 90 days to make its decision, and no Facebook employee can overturn their final ruling, Zuckerberg included.
And if the board decides to reinstate Trump's accounts, Facebook will have 7 days to do so.
The newly independent board was established for the first time in October 2020 to act as the “supreme court” for an outreach company on more complex content decisions.
Several cases have been reviewed by this emerging 20-member board, which is made up of academics, former politicians, and activists from around the world, including the Nobel Prize-winning Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman.
The former US president criticized the establishment of the council previously, noting that it censors the freedom of others to express their views, and also criticized the presence of Karman in its membership.
Trump criticizes the presence of the Yemeni activist Karman as a member of the Facebook Supervisory Board (Al-Jazeera)
However, some experts are concerned about the oversight board because it allows Facebook to "outsource" the implementation of controversial decisions while the authority maintains its own policies.
Trump will not be allowed access to his Instagram or Facebook accounts until the board makes its decision.
During this time, Trump page officials can file a statement in his favor, according to the Censorship Board press release.
Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president for global affairs and communications, said in a press release that Facebook hoped the censorship board would continue its original decision to ban Trump.
Facebook will also ask the independent oversight board to provide any recommendations on how to address this political leader's account freeze.
“We believe our decision to block Trump accounts was necessary and correct,” Clegg said in the press release, adding, “Given its importance, we believe it is important for the board to review it and come to an independent judgment on whether it should be supported.”