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Facebook announced on Friday that the suspension of the Facebook and Instagram accounts of former US President Donald Trump will be extended for two years.
Trump had already been indefinitely excluded from both social networks in January as a result of the publications he made about the assault on the US Capitol, which occurred during the certification of the results of the November 2020 elections, in which the Democrat won. Joe Biden.
But in May, Facebook’s Oversight Board criticized that the sanction against Trump was indefinite.
Facebook said on Friday that the actions of the former Republican president were “a serious violation of the rules” of the platform.
Trump responded that the suspension was “an insult” to the millions of Americans who voted for him in November.
In addition to announcing this decision, Facebook also said that would put fine the exception that protected politicians of some content moderation rules.
The social network announced that it would no longer give them immunity for misleading or abusive content on the grounds that their comments could be newsworthy.
What did Facebook say?
Trump’s suspension will run from the date of the initial sanction, Jan. 7, Facebook vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg said in a statement released Friday.
“Given the seriousness of the circumstances that led to Trump’s suspension, we believe that his actions constituted a serious violation of our rules that deserve the highest penalty available,” he added.
“If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a specified period of time and continue to reevaluate it until that risk has diminished,” he also said.
Furthermore, upon his return, should he commit any other violation of the rules, Trump will be subject to “a strict set of sanctions that would escalate rapidly,” according to Clegg.
How did Trump respond?
In a statement issued by his Save America political action committee, Trump said Friday that “Facebook’s ruling is an insult to the 75 million record-breaking people, plus many others, who voted for us …”
“They must not be allowed to get away with this censorship and silencing, and ultimately, we will win. Our country cannot take this abuse anymore!”
In a second statement about the two-year suspension, Trump attacked the founder of Facebook.
“The next time I am in the White House there will be no more dinners, at his request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife,” the former president said. “Everything will be business!”
Facebook’s decision allows Trump to return to the platform before the 2024 presidential election.
Now he is preparing to hold again the large-scale face-to-face rallies that he used to organize during his campaigns and presidency. One of the first is planned in Dallas, Texas, in early July, according to local media.
Earlier this week, From the Desk of Donald J. Trump, the communication platform established by Trump in the wake of his social media suspensions, closed permanently.
In addition to Facebook, which has more than 2 billion monthly users, Trump too It was banned from Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitch, and other social media platforms because of the riots on the Capitol in January.
In May, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican ally of Trump, signed the first law in the US to penalize tech companies for expelling politicians.
“This is a great decision”
Analysis by Amol Rajan, Media editor
Facebook’s dilemma over Trump was complex and guaranteed to upset millions of people. The fact is, whatever the decision was, it was bound to polarize people.
But to be clear: today Facebook, the world’s largest social network, has denied access to its megaphone to a man for whom 74 million people voted. They didn’t just know or approve of him. They voted for him to be president of the United States. That is a great decision.
What is the new Facebook policy?
Facebook said public figures who violate its rules by inciting riots or violence will be suspended for a month or, in more serious cases, up to two years.
This move is part of an effort to undo the previous policy that allowed political speech to be newsworthy, despite the possibility that it could cause harm.
Posts deemed worthy of an exception, despite possible violations, can still be allowed, but Facebook will put a warning label on them. The company says it will no longer treat “content posted by politicians differently”.
“Instead, we will simply apply our newsworthiness balance test in the same way to all content, measuring whether the public interest value of the content outweighs the potential risk of harm,” he says.
The company’s Oversight Board determined that Trump’s initial suspension was appropriate, but that there was no reason for the ban to hold indefinitely.
The independent board, funded by Facebook, has 20 members who can make binding decisions about the content of the platform. Members include jurists, journalists, freedom of expression experts and a former prime minister of Denmark.
Trump’s suspension was announced on the same day that regulatory authorities in Europe and the United Kingdom began an antitrust investigation to determine whether Facebook misused customer data.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.