Facebook bans former US President Donald Trump for two years

Trump dismisses Facebook’s decision to uphold the ban

Facebook on Friday announced that former United States President Donald Trump’s accounts will be suspended for two years and only reinstated if conditions permit.

“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,” Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs for Facebook, said in a statement.

Clegg said the sanction needed to be long enough to allow a safe period of time after the violation, and significant enough to be a deterrent to Trump and others from committing such “severe” violations in future.

The ban runs until January 7, 2023, after the next mid-term elections and the new Congress is sworn into office, and Facebook warned that any further infringements by Trump risked his permanent removal.

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“When the suspension is eventually lifted, there will be a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr. Trump commits further violations in future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts.”

Trump’s accounts had been suspended indefinitely on January 7 following the U.S. Capitol riots which Trump was accused of inciting.

Facebook’s Oversight Board, however, criticized the open-ended nature of the suspension and ordered the company to review the decision and respond in a way that was “clear and proportionate”.

“We are grateful that the Oversight Board acknowledged that our original decision to suspend Mr. Trump was right and necessary, in the exceptional circumstances at the time.”

“But we absolutely accept that we did not have enforcement protocols in place adequate to respond to such unusual events. Now that we have them, we hope and expect they will only be applicable in the rarest circumstances.”

The decision was keenly anticipated as observers believe it would indicate how the company would handle world leaders who violate its rules.

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