Facebook announced that its ban on former President Donald Trump would last at least two years on Friday, in what was its first official statement outlining a timeline for Trump’s suspension from the social media platform.
After posting what the social media site considered inflammatory and dangerous comments about the January 6th Capitol Riots, when his most extreme followers attempted to storm the Capitol Building, then-President Trump was banned from Facebook in early 2021.
As Facebook owns the image-based social media platform Instagram, the same ban applies to the former President on that service as well.
Trump was also suspended from Twitter, his preferred mode of communicating with his supporters, in early 2021, but the ban from that platform was permanent.
Trump, who never conceded to President Joe Biden, repeatedly and falsely claimed on social media after the Nov. 3 election that the race had been stolen from him by widespread fraud.
Facebook’s Oversight Board Bans Trump for Two Years
The move to suspend Trump from social media stunned the country, with some arguing that it amounted to silencing the then-US President, and others contending that the ban should have happened long before, as Trump was known to post misleading information on the platform.
The ban on Trump’s account was upheld by Facebook’s Oversight Board, which is made up of human rights activists, law and global affairs experts, journalists, and former world leaders, in early May.
In the Board’s most recent decision, Trump’s ban from Facebook will last until 2023, when the panel of experts will decide “whether the risk to public safety has receded,” at which point his account will be reinstated, Facebook stated Friday.
If he is permitted to join Facebook again in two years, he will be subject to “rapidly escalating sanctions” if found to violate the platform’s rules. These sanctions could involve a permanent ban on his account.
Facebook to create new rules for politicians
Nick Clegg, vice president for global affairs at Facebook, defended the ban on a community blog post.
“Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols,” Clegg wrote.
In addition to the statement regarding Trump’s ban, Facebook also announced that it would no longer consider politicians different than any other user on the site, leaving them subject to the site’s rules regarding speech.
Previously, Facebook took a largely indifferent approach in terms of monitoring the speech of politicians and public figures, rarely removing their posts.
Now, their posts will be scrutinized according to Facebook’s policies regarding false news, harassment, and hate speech, like all other posts on the site.
Trump abandoned blog
Former President Donald Trump’s blog has been permanently shut down, his spokesman said Wednesday, less than a month after it went live.
Many believed the blog was Trump’s answer to his multiple social media bans in early 2021.
The blog, titled “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” has been scrubbed from Trump’s website after going live less than a month earlier.
The blog, unveiled last month and originally billed as a new “communications platform,” seemed ill-equipped to take on the largest social media companies.
It “will not be returning,” his senior aide Jason Miller told CNBC.
“It was just auxiliary to the broader efforts we have and are working on,” Miller said via email. He declined to provide additional details about those efforts.
“Hoping to have more information on the broader efforts soon, but I do not have a precise awareness of timing,” Miller said.
But asked online later Wednesday whether the move was a “precursor” to the former president joining “another social media platform,” Miller replied: “Yes, actually, it is. Stay tuned!”