Facebook banned former US President Donald Trump for two years on Friday, saying he deserved the maximum sentence for breaking platform rules in a deadly attack by his supporters on the US Capitol.
The sanction will take effect on January 7, when Trump was kicked out of the social media giant, and comes after Facebook’s independent oversight board said the indefinite ban initially imposed should be reconsidered.
“Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions were a serious violation of our rules which deserve the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols.” , said Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs at Facebook. Publish.
Updating its policies, Facebook also said it will no longer grant politicians blanket immunity for misleading or abusive content based on their newsworthy comments.
At the end of Trump’s two-year ban, Facebook will call in experts to assess whether its activity on the platform still threatens public safety, according to Clegg.
“If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to reassess until that risk has diminished,” Clegg said.
When Trump’s suspension is lifted, he will face stiff penalties that could quickly escalate into permanent dismissal for breaking the rules, according to Clegg.
Last month, the Independent Oversight Board said Facebook was justified in ousting Trump for its comments about the murderous Jan.6 rampage on the U.S. Capitol, but that the platform should not have applied an “indefinite sentence and without indefinite suspension standard “.
Trump said in a statement that the ban was an “insult” to voters, reiterating his false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.
“They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censorship and silence,” Trump said.
Trump also attacked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who attended a White House dinner with the former president in 2019.
“The next time I’m at the White House, there will be no more dinners, at his request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife,” Trump said. “That will be all business!”
Zuckerberg has long argued that private companies should not be the arbiter of the truth.
“American democracy does not belong to Silicon Valley, it belongs to the American people,” Clegg said in a podcast with Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution.
“And it is the lawmakers and politicians of this country who must ultimately govern the rules that prevail.”
Some activists have criticized Facebook for even opening the door to Trump’s reinstatement.
Angelo Carusone of the left-wing watchdog Media Matters for America called Facebook’s move dangerous, saying that if Trump is reinstated, “the platform will remain a bubbling cauldron of extremism, disinformation and violence.”
Activists from a group called The Real Facebook Oversight Board said: “Facebook shouldn’t have needed a $ 130 million supervisory board and a team of law professors to tell them that dictators and authoritarians were rampant on their platform. “
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, when asked about Facebook’s decision, said that a social media platform that disseminates information to millions of Americans, “has a responsibility to crack down on the misinformation … whether it’s the election or even the vaccine. “
Trump was suspended from Facebook and Instagram after posting a video during the attack on his fiery supporters contesting his election defeat, in which he told them, “We love you, you are very special.”
The monitoring panel had asked Facebook to justify why its ban should be permanent.
“The steps Facebook has taken today will contribute to greater clarity, consistency and transparency in how the company moderates content, and will promote public safety, defend human rights and respect freedom. expression, “the board said in a statement.
As part of its new policy, Facebook will withdraw from its “topical” exception that allowed false information from Trump and others to circulate.
Facebook will begin posting the “rare cases” in which offensive posts are tolerated, and will not treat content posted by politicians any differently from content posted by someone else, according to Clegg.
New York University Stern Center deputy director Paul Barrett welcomed the move.
“Donald Trump has illustrated how a political leader can abuse social media to undermine democratic institutions such as elections and the peaceful transfer of power,” he said.