Social networking giant, Facebook, has banned former US President, Donald Trump, for two years after violating the American multinational technology conglomerate rules.
Justifying the ban on Friday, the social networking site argued that the controversial former US leader deserved the maximum punishment for violating its rules over a deadly attack by his supporters on the US Capitol.
Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, said that the punishment confirmed the organization’s commitment to uphold its rule and apply it where necessary irrespective of the personality involved.
“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,” Clegg said in a post.
Facebook also said that it would no longer give politicians blanket immunity for deceptive or abusive content on the social network based on their comments being newsworthy.
At the end of the suspension period, Facebook said, it would work with experts to assess the risk to public safety posed by reinstating Trump’s account.
“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,” Clegg wrote.
He added that once the suspension was lifted, “a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions” would be triggered if Trump violated Facebook policies.
Friday’s decision comes just weeks after input from the Facebook oversight board – an independent advisory committee of academics, media figures, and former politicians – who recommended in early May that Trump’s account not be reinstated.
However, the oversight board punted the ultimate decision on Trump’s fate back to Facebook itself, giving the company six months to make the final call. The board said that Facebook’s “indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension” for Trump was “not appropriate”, criticism that Clegg wrote the company “absolutely accept[s]”.
The new policy allows for escalating penalties of suspensions for one month, six months, one year, and two years.
The former president has been suspended since January, following the deadly Capitol attack that saw a mob of Trump supporters storm Congress in an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
The company suspended Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts over posts in which he appeared to praise the actions of the rioters, saying that his actions posed too great a risk to remain on the platform.
Following the Capitol riot, Trump was suspended from several major tech platforms, including Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat. Twitter has since made its ban permanent.