Facebook suspends Donald Trump for two years, citing ‘severe violation’ after Capitol riots

Facebook suspended former President Donald Trump for two years but in time for him to regain a powerful social media megaphone for the 2024 election cycle.

But Facebook warned that Trump’s Facebook and Instagram would incur penalties or be removed altogether if he violates the company’s rules again.

“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,” Facebook said Friday.

Trump’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram were frozen following the Jan. 6 attack after he praised supporters who stormed the Capitol.

The suspension will end two years after it began on Jan. 7, 2023. 

Facebook also said it would no longer grant politicians special exemptions from its content policies after the company faced a firestorm of criticism for being unclear on how and why it treats world leaders differently.

Facebook after Trump suspension: Political speech of world leaders will get less preferential treatment

Trump Florida law challenged: Facebook, YouTube and Twitter lawsuit challenges Trump-inspired Florida law banning ‘censorship’ of conservatives

Facebook’s Oversight Board – a quasi-independent panel of experts funded by Facebook – ruled that suspending Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts was the right move, but said it was not appropriate to impose an indefinite suspension and instructed the company to review the matter within six months, opening the door to Trump’s possible return.

“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 said.

Donald Trump suspended from Facebook for two years. (Photo: Evan Vucci, AP)

Trump lost his direct link to supporters when he was booted from the nation’s top social media platforms following the Capitol attack. He has relied instead on a patchwork of press releases and personal messages, television interviews, emails and robocalls to reach supporters. This week he pulled the plug on a blog “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump” due to low readership.

Facebook also announced new “enforcement protocols” for exceptional cases like Trump’s.

“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,” Facebook said.

In a statement, Facebook’s Oversight Board declined to comment until it had a chance to review the company’s response.

In announcing that Trump could rejoin his millions of followers in two years, Facebook acknowledged that the decision would be roundly criticized by conservatives and liberals alike. The right for years accused mainstream social media companies of censoring their speech. The left had campaigned for Trump to be permanently banned as he was on Twitter and Snapchat.

“There are many people who believe it was not appropriate for a private company like Facebook to suspend an outgoing President from its platform, and many others who believe Mr. Trump should have immediately been banned for life,” the company said. “Our job is to make a decision in as proportionate, fair and transparent a way as possible, in keeping with the instruction given to us by the Oversight Board.”

Facebook said it would remove content from world leaders if “the risk of harm outweighs the public interest.”

“We allow certain content that is newsworthy or important to the public interest to remain on our platform – even if it might otherwise violate our Community Standards. We may also limit other enforcement consequences, such as demotions, when it is in the public interest to do so,” Facebook said.

But, moving forward, when it judges the newsworthiness of content, it will not treat content posted by politicians differently than that of any other user, Facebook said, “measuring whether the public interest value of the content outweighs the potential risk of harm by leaving it up.”

Previously the speech of world leaders was much less likely to be restricted or removed when they violated the social media company’s content moderation policies.

This story is developing

Source: Read Full Article