Facebook has announced that President Trump’s ban from the platform will continue for two years, expiring in January 2023, although the platform also stressed that the ban could be extended if experts consider allowing the former President to use the platform to still be be a “serious risk to public safety.”
The social network also stressed that if Trump is reinstated in 2023, “strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr. Trump commits further violations in future.”
In a statement condemning the decision, Trump said “Facebook’s ruling is an insult to the record-setting 75M people, plus many others, who voted for us in the 2020 Rigged Presidential Election. They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing, and ultimately, we will win. Our Country can’t take this abuse anymore!”
The decision came following Facebook’s quasi-independent Oversight Board’s refusal to issue a conclusive upholding of Trump’s ban. In a ruling last month, the Board said that Facebook must make a decision on whether or not the ban should be permanent.
We are today announcing new enforcement protocols to be applied in exceptional cases such as this, and we are confirming the time-bound penalty consistent with those protocols which we are applying to Mr. Trump’s accounts. 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.
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.
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.
In establishing the two year sanction for severe violations, we considered the need for it to be long enough to allow a safe period of time after the acts of incitement, to be significant enough to be a deterrent to Mr. Trump and others from committing such severe violations in future, and to be proportionate to the gravity of the violation itself.
Facebook, like other social media platforms, justified its permanent ban of Trump on the basis of his supporters’ actions on January 6 this year. The platforms ignored the fact that Trump called on his supporters to assemble peacefully and lawfully — Twitter even removed a video from the President on January 6 which called on his supporters to peacefully disperse.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.