Facebook Inc. has referred its decision to indefinitely suspend the accounts of former President Donald Trump to its outside oversight board, as the company grapples with how to treat one of its highest-profile users after his exit from public office.
Earlier this month the social-media giant moved to disable Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts for at least two weeks, after he egged on supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol seeking to keep him in power in a Jan. 6 attack that left five dead. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said at the time that the risks of Mr. Trump’s using the platform through Inauguration Day were too great.
“We believe our decision was necessary and right,” Facebook said in a blog post Thursday, one day after the swearing-in of President Joe Biden. “Given its significance, we think it is important for the board to review it and reach an independent judgment on whether it should be upheld.”
Facebook said the former president’s accounts would remain suspended while a five-member panel of the oversight board determines in the coming days whether certain posts he made before to the riot had violated the company’s community standards and values.
The panel will also determine whether Facebook’s removal of those posts respected international human-rights standards. Mr. Trump’s Facebook account has more than 35 million followers and his personal Instagram account nearly 25 million.