Facebook referred the case to the board Thursday, according to a blog post by Facebook's vice president of global affairs and communications, Nick Clegg. "We believe our decision was necessary and right," Clegg wrote. "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."
The Oversight Board, which gets to choose its own cases and issue binding decisions, opted to take up the case, saying that their decision will "determine whether Mr. Trump's suspension from access to Facebook and Instagram for an indefinite amount of time is overturned."
The case will now head to a five-member panel for a decision. Within 90 days, a majority of the full Oversight Board will have to approve the decision before it's publicly issued. In the meantime, Trump and his page administrators can submit a statement laying out their case for having Trump's account restored. Facebook will also share its own explanation around its decisions. The board will also accept comments from the public.
"Facebook will have up to seven days to implement the case decision," the board wrote, noting that the company will have to respond publicly to policy recommendations from the board within 30 days.
Facebook banned the former president until at least the end of his presidency following the riot inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. At the time, Facebook said it was concerned that allowing the president to post could risk inciting further violence, a decision that was both celebrated and condemned by members of both political parties.
"The reaction to our decision shows the delicate balance private companies are being asked to strike," Clegg wrote. "Whether you believe the decision was justified or not, many people are understandably uncomfortable with the idea that tech companies have the power to ban elected leaders. Many argue private companies like Facebook shouldn't be making these big decisions on their own. We agree."