Former President Donald Trump lashed out at Facebook Friday after the social media giant announced it would suspend his account for at least two years as it enforces new “protocols to be applied in exceptional cases.”
“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,” Trump said in a statement. “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!”
Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts will remain suspended until Jan. 7, 2023, and be reactivated “if the risk to public safety has receded,” according to the company’s Vice President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg in a blog post on the corporation’s website.
“We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest,” Clegg wrote. “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.”
Facebook’s new policy comes after an oversight board upheld the suspension of Trump’s account but criticized “indefinite suspension” as a penalty.
“We are grateful that the Oversight Board acknowledged that our original decision to suspend Mr. Trump was right and necessary, in the exceptional circumstances at the time,” Clegg wrote. “But we absolutely accept that we did not have enforcement protocols in place adequate to respond to such unusual events. Now that we have them, we hope and expect they will only be applicable in the rarest circumstances.
Trump’s account was suspended soon after demonstrators violently attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“We know that any penalty we apply — or choose not to apply — will be controversial,” Clegg said. “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.
“We know today’s decision will be criticized by many people on opposing sides of the political divide — but 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.”
Clegg also addressed Facebook’s “newsworthiness allowance” and how it will be applied. The company has been criticized for being too deferential to certain politicians and powerful figures.
“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,” Clegg wrote. “We may also limit other enforcement consequences, such as demotions, when it is in the public interest to do so. When making these determinations, however, we will remove content if the risk of harm outweighs the public interest.”