Facebook Has an Update About Ban on Trump's Account; Trump Responds

Posted: Jun 04, 2021 1:25 PM
Facebook Has an Update About Ban on Trump's Account; Trump Responds

Source: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Facebook said Friday it will keep in place its ban on former President Trump for at least two years, until January 2023. 

The ban went into effect shortly after the 45th president’s response to the Capitol Hill riot. 

"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. We are suspending his accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7 this year," Nick Clegg, VP of Global Affairs, said in a statement. 

In evaluating whether the company will reinstate his account at the end of this period, Facebook said that will only happen "if conditions permit."

“At the end of this period, we will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded. We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest. 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 re-evaluate until that risk has receded,” the statement adds.

The announcement comes in response to the company’s independent Oversight Board’s decision last month to uphold the ban. At the same time, however, the board criticized the “open-ended nature of the suspension.” Thus, the Board asked Facebook “to review the decision and respond in a way that is clear and proportionate, and made a number of recommendations on how to improve our policies and processes.”

Once the suspension is up, Trump could face what the company describes as “sanctions” if he continues to violate Facebook’s rules—this could include permanent removal of his accounts and pages from the social media site.

The company also said it would no longer treat speech from politicians differently than anyone else's. "[W]hen we assess content for newsworthiness, we will not treat content posted by politicians any differently from content posted by anyone else," the statement said. "Instead, we will simply apply our newsworthiness balancing test in the same way to all content, measuring whether the public interest value of the content outweighs the potential risk of harm by leaving it up."

Update: In a statement, Trump called the company's decision an “insult” to the millions of Americans who voted for him. He further said Facebook “shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing..." 

Editor's note: This post has been updated.