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Social media giant Facebook’s newly formed Oversight Board has accepted a referral to look into the company’s decision to indefinitely ban former US President Donald Trump’s account on the platform. The company has also asked the Board for policy recommendations pertaining to suspensions of a user who is a political leader. The Board’s decision, as per Facebook’s earlier announcement, will be binding and final. It is expected to have a lasting impact on how Facebook deals with accounts of political leaders from hereon. Given that the platform is the largest social network on the planet, the decision could set a precedent for other platforms too.

The world’s largest social network had banned President Trump’s account on 7 January, accusing him of breaking the platform’s rules around posts inciting violence. The ban was imposed following violence at the US Capitol building, for which many have blamed Trump and his posts on social media. “Facebook’s decision to suspend Mr. Trump’s access to post on Facebook and Instagram on 7 January, 2020 has driven intense global interest. The Oversight Board has been closely following events in the United States (US) and Facebook’s response to them, and the Board is ready to provide a thorough and independent assessment of the company’s decision," the Board said in a blog post.

Further, the Board said Facebook has “committed not to restore access" to its platforms for Trump’s accounts unless so directed by the Board. “Facebook must consider any accompanying policy recommendations from the Board, and publicly respond to them," the Board said in its post.

The Oversight Board had been set up last year and touted to be the platform’s Supreme Court by chief executive Mark Zuckerberg. It is meant to be an independent entity, though it is funded by Facebook through a trust. While the members of the Board were announced early last year, it started operations during the second half of the year and is yet to make its first decision. A decision on the Trump ban could be a good indicator of the Board’s impact on the platform and its efficacy.

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