Facebook suspends Trump for two years, changes rules for world leaders
Facebook Inc (FB.O) suspended former US President Donald Trump until at least January 2023 on Friday and announced changes to how it will deal with world leaders who break company rules on posting to his site.
Facebook suspended Trump’s account the day after the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill, determining that he had incited violence. This suspension will last for at least two years from the date of the initial blockade and will only be lifted if the risk to public safety has diminished, Facebook said on Friday.
Trump criticized the decision as a form of censorship and an insult to his constituents.
This new timeline deprives Republican Trump of a major social media megaphone ahead of the November 2022 Congressional election. However, that means he may be able to return to Facebook long before the next presidential election in late 2024.
Trump was permanently banned by Twitter (TWTR.N) and remains suspended by Alphabet (GOOGL.O) YouTube after the riot. Trump, who closed his recently launched blog this week, has announced plans to start his own platform. Read more
“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 for Facebook. .
The supervisory board of Facebook, an independent company-funded group that rules on a small portion of controversial content decisions, confirmed in May the company’s unprecedented lockdown against Trump. However, the council ruled that it was wrong to make the ban indefinite and called for a “proportionate response”.
In a statement released Friday, Trump criticized the decision and repeated false allegations of electoral fraud: “Facebook’s decision is an insult to the 75 million people, plus many more, who voted for us in the presidential election. rigged of 2020. They shouldn’t. Don’t be allowed to get away with this censorship and silence, and ultimately we will win. Our country can no longer endure this abuse! “Several investigations have found no evidence of electoral fraud.
Trump added: “Next time I am in the White House there will be no more dinners, at his request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. It will only be business!”
Facebook said it would work with experts to decide when the risk to public safety diminished for 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 Trump broke other rules that could lead to his permanent impeachment.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, speaking to reporters, said of Facebook’s move on Trump that it was “quite unlikely that the zebra would change its stripes in the next two years, we will see “.
In recent years, social media companies have questioned how to deal with world leaders and politicians who break their guidelines. Read more
The Nigerian government on Friday announced that it had indefinitely suspended Twitter operations in the country, two days after the company cut a post by President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to punish regional secessionists. Read more
In a major reversal that also came as part of Facebook’s responses to its supervisory board on Friday, Facebook said it was “removing the presumption we announced in 2019 that politicians’ speech is inherently public interest. “.
The company said it would now assess content violating politicians against the potential risk of harm in the same way it does for all users. He will also disclose when he uses his “media interest” exemption.
However, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed that politicians’ posts will remain free from third-party fact-checking.
Facebook has been criticized by those who think it should abandon its hands-off approach to political discourse, but has also been criticized by those, including Republican lawmakers and some free speech advocates, who saw the ban of Trump as a disturbing act of censorship. .
The decision and the policy changes could have major ramifications for the way Facebook handles global leaders and officials who break the rules on its services. He said public figures who break his rules by inciting violence or civil unrest could be limited to violations of one month, while more serious violations would be limited to longer sentences.
Social media companies have faced calls from some advocacy groups and activists to be more consistent in their approach to other leaders who have broken or pushed their rules. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Leader Ali Khamenei, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and lawmakers in India’s ruling party have come under scrutiny.
Facebook, which previously had not shared the number of “strikes” users might receive before a suspension, offered more transparency in this opaque system. He said five or more strikes would result in a 30-day publication restriction.
The Trump affair was seen as a test of how the company responded to the decision and recommendations of its newly formed supervisory board.
The board also recommended that Facebook reconsider its role in the electoral fraud plot that led to the Jan.6 siege, which Facebook said it would partially implement through its partnership with academics studying the role. that he played in the 2020 US election. Facebook said it was implementing 15 of the board’s 19 recommendations.
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