Facebook suspends former US President Donald Trump’s account until 2023

Timing of Trump’s suspension means he won’t be able to use his accounts until the November 2022 national midterm election

Facebook Inc on Friday suspended former US President Donald Trump from its platform until at least January 2023 and announced changes in how it will treat rule-breaking world leaders in the future.

Facebook said the suspension, which will last for at least two years from January 7, when it was initially blocked after the Capitol riot, will only be lifted if the risk to public safety has diminished. Mr. Trump called the Facebook suspension “an insult” to Americans who voted for him.

This new calendar denies Mr. Trump a major megaphone on social media ahead of the November 2022 national midterm elections, when his party will compete for seats in Congress. However, that does mean he may be able to come back to Facebook long before the next presidential election in late 2024.

Mr. Trump was permanently banned by Twitter and remains suspended by Alphabet on YouTube after the riot. The former president, who closed his recently launched blog this week, announced plans to launch his own platform, but his team gave few details.

“Given the gravity of the circumstances which 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, head of global affairs at Facebook. .

Facebook’s independent watchdog in May confirmed the company’s unprecedented lockdown against Mr. Trump, which was enforced because the company said its posts incited violence. However, the council ruled that it was wrong to make the ban indefinite and called for a “proportionate response”.

Mr Trump said in a statement on Friday: “Facebook’s move is an insult to the 75 million record-setting people, as well as many more who voted for us in the rigged presidential election. of 2020. They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this. censor and silence, and ultimately we will win. Our country can no longer endure this abuse! “

Facebook said it will work with experts to decide when the risk to public safety has diminished for Mr. Trump to be reinstated on its platforms. He said he would assess factors such as instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assemblies and other markers of civil unrest.

He also said there would be a growing set of sanctions that would be triggered if Mr. Trump broke other rules that could lead to his permanent impeachment.

Policy changes

In recent years, social media companies have questioned how to deal with world leaders and politicians who break their guidelines. Facebook and Twitter Inc have long argued that world leaders, politicians and elected officials should have more leeway on their platforms than ordinary users.

In a major reversal, Facebook said on Friday it would end its policy that protects politicians from certain content moderation rules because their content is considered “newsworthy.” It will also disclose when it uses this exemption.

However, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed that politicians’ posts would still be exempt from third-party fact-checking. Some of these policy changes were initially reported by The Verge.

Facebook has been criticized by those who think it should abandon its hands-off approach to political discourse. But he has also been criticized by those, including Republican lawmakers and some free speech advocates, who saw Trump’s ban as a disturbing act of censorship.

The announcements came on the same day that Europe and Britain launched formal antitrust investigations into whether Facebook is abusing its vast mine of customer data.

Kevin E. Boling

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