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Talking Tech: Facebook's Oversight Board upholds Trump ban, but nixes indefinite suspensions

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A decision has been made about Facebook's ban of President Trump, but the issue far from resolved.

The Facebook Oversight Board on Wednesday upheld the social media company's suspension of former President Trump, four months after his comments about the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol were considered incendiary.

At the time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Trump was suspended from Facebook and Instagram indefinitely "and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete."

The ban remained as Facebook sent its decision to the Facebook Oversight Board, which the company established in October 2020. Even though the board upheld Facebook's decision, it also deemed it was inappropriate to impose an indefinite suspension. The board instructed Facebook to review the matter within six months – a move that could possibly result in Trump's return to the platforms.

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The reactions to the decision ranged as wide as, well, the political spectrum. NAACP National President Derrick Johnson approved of the decision calling the former president "one of the single greatest threats to democracy in modern history."

GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy criticized the board's ruling, tweeting, "If they can ban President Trump, all conservative voices could be next."

Enough folks were unhappy about the decision to lead the hashtag #DeleteFacebook trending on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Florida state legislators have passed – and Gov. Ron DeSantis is likely to sign into law – a bill that would prevent social media companies from “deplatforming” politicians.

What else happened in tech?

A big breakup. The impending divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates, announced Monday when they simultaneously posted the news on Twitter, took many by surprise. The couple met at Microsoft, which Bill Gates co-founded, and have been married for 27 years. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which they co-chair, is not expected to be affected, at least in the short term, by the couple's split.

Apple Watch updates. Future Apple Watch models may be able to measure blood sugar levels, blood pressure and blood alcohol, according to research and development revelations from one of Apple's suppliers.

Peloton treadmill recall. The exercise services company, which makes exercise bikes and treadmills, voluntarily recalled its Tread+ and Tread treadmills, covering about 125,000 and 1,050 units, in the U.S., after a child's death was linked to the Tread+ product. Peloton plans to send a software update in the next few days to Tread+ treadmills with a digital PIN code that can be used to lock the device.

Game break

Parents and grandparents are taking up video games as a ‘wonderful escape’ and a way to stay connected during the pandemic, a story in the U.K. news site The Guardian. This doesn't totally surprise us because we know about "Tactical Gramma."

This week in Talking Tech

On this week's Talking Tech podcast, we discussed the standoff between Roku and YouTube TV, which resulted in the live TV app being removed from Roku's app store. Also discussed: How EA Sports' acquisitions got the game publisher back into baseball games and our hands-on trial of Apple's new AirTags.

Contributing: Nathan Bomey, Jessica Guynn, Brett Molina and Kelly Tyko

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Facebook, Instagram ban of President Trump upheld by oversight board