Facebook's Oversight Board ruled Wednesday to continue banning former President Donald Trump from Facebook and Instagram, a measure put in place against him after the Capitol Hill riot on Jan. 6.
The board insisted the company "review this matter to determine and justify a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform," adding that an indefinite period of time for a suspension "was not appropriate."
For now, the decision will guarantee that Trump remains blocked from posting on the social media sites.
Sen. Tom Cotton blasted Facebook's restrictions on free speech as "Orwellian":
Is there anything more Orwellian than Facebook's "independent oversight board," stocked with left-wing academics, deciding issues of free speech?
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) May 5, 2021
At the time of the attack, Facebook had decided to block Trump "indefinitely," with CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying, "We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great."
The news comes one day after Trump unveiled a new online platform that allows him to directly communicate with his followers.
"From the Desk of Donald Trump" is his new website featuring comments, images, and videos by Trump. It's a one-way communication site so visitors cannot post comments, however, plans are in the works to create a social media platform soon.
Visitors can view a 30-second video highlighting the project.
"In a time of silence and lies, a beacon of freedom arises, a place to speak freely and safely, straight from the desk of Donald J. Trump," the text reads.
Trump told his supporters earlier this year that he would return to social media, but on his own platform.
"We have been negotiating with various other sites, and will have a big announcement soon, while we also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future," Trump had said. "We will not be SILENCED!"
Senior Advisor Jason Miller tweeted on Tuesday that debuting the new site is just the first step in Trump's online return.
"President Trump's website is a great resource to find his latest statements and highlights from his first term in office, but this is not a new social media platform. We'll have additional information coming on that front in the very near future."
President Trump’s website is a great resource to find his latest statements and highlights from his first term in office, but this is not a new social media platform. We’ll have additional information coming on that front in the very near future. https://t.co/m9ymmHofmI
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) May 4, 2021
Meanwhile, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley told CBN News that giving a company such as Facebook the power to silence a sitting President of the United States is a threat to free speech and highlights the need for congressional regulation.
"I think that it really is a sad state of affairs when free speech in America depends on the whims of a monopoly corporation," the senator said. "And that's what's happening here. This isn't a court, let's be clear, this isn't a court making a decision – this is a Facebook panel."
"To listen to Facebook talk about it, you'd think this is the Supreme Court of the United States," he added. "The only reason people care is because Facebook is so powerful. Listen, if Facebook had a lot of competitors then President Trump could just go to another platform – say alright, fine, forget you Facebook I'll go over here to this platform. The whole point is Facebook doesn't have any real competitors in the social media space so what they do really matters because they're the only game in town. That's a problem. That's a monopoly, and that's why I think the best thing that we can do is break them up."
Twitter and Snapchat also banned Trump from their sites.