UPDATE: The Oversight Board has upheld Facebook's decision on Jan. 7, 2021, to restrict then-President Donald Trump's access to posting content on his Facebook page and Instagram account.
The social media company banned the politician from using its platforms the day after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The board explained on May 5 that Trump "created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible" by maintaining a narrative that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
Following the historic breach of security at the Capitol Building on Wednesday, Jan. 6, Facebook, Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued a statement announcing the company's monumental decision. Facebook had previously announced that the company had imposed a 24-hour feature block on Trump's page following two policy violations.
"The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden," Zuckerberg's Jan. 7 statement began. "His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world. We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect— and likely their intent—would be to provoke further violence."
After the incident at the U.S. Capitol, a joint session of Congress resumed and ratified the results of the 2020 presidential election, officially certifying Biden as the next president of the United States and Kamala Harris as the next vice president. "Following the certification of the election results by Congress," Zuckerberg continued, "the priority for the whole country must now be to ensure that the remaining 13 days and the days after inauguration pass peacefully and in accordance with established democratic norms."
The Facebook co-founder also addressed the reasoning behind how they previously handled Trump's content on the platform as compared with now.
"Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies. We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech," he explained. "But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.
We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great."
As a result, Zuckerberg confirmed the company is "extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete." The presidential inauguration is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Jan. 20.
While Facebook has taken these indefinite actions against the president, Twitter hid three of his tweets and imposed a 12-hour lock on his account "following the removal of these Tweets," a statement read. "If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked."
Originally published Jan. 7, 2021 at 10:49 a.m. PST