Facebook hands decision on Trump ban to oversight board

Facebook on Thursday said the decision on whether to indefinitely suspend the accounts of former U.S. President Donald Trump would be passed on to its independent oversight board.

Trump will remain suspended while the board reviews the decision.

The newly-formed 20 member group - made up of former prime ministers and Nobel Prize winners - will have a maximum of 90 days to make a ruling, and for Facebook to act on it.

An Oversight Board spokesman said it would likely be sooner than that.

The social media company blocked Trump's access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts following the storming of the U.S. Capitol by the former president's supporters earlier this month.

In a interview with Reuters, Facebook's head of global affairs, Nick Clegg said suspending Trump was the right thing to do:

"But I'm very confident that any reasonable person looking at the circumstances in which we took that decision and looking at our existing policies will agree. (flash) given the, in my view, sort of crystal clear link between the words of the former President Trump and the actions of people on the Capitol, we felt it really was. Was it a controversial decision because he was the president of the United States? It actually wasn't a particularly complicated one to take, given it was so obvious to us that that was contrary to the long standing policies we have in place."

Clegg has also asked the Oversight Board to provide recommendations on when political leaders can or should be blocked.

However, the board's recommendations are not binding.