Trump Suspended From Facebook For 2 Years : NPR

Facebook says former President Donald Trump will not be able to use its social media platforms until at least January 7, 2023. Pool / Getty Images Hide caption

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Pool / Getty Images

Facebook says former President Donald Trump will not be able to use its social media platforms until at least January 7, 2023.

Pool / Getty Images

Facebook has extended the suspension of former President Donald Trump by two years, saying it will only reinstate him “when the risk to public safety has decreased”.

The decision comes after that The board of directors of Facebook told the company it was wrong to be one unlimited ban on Trump following the January 6 uprising in the U.S. Capitol.

Facebook says it is setting new rules for public figures in times of turmoil and violence “to be used in exceptional cases like this”. Trump has received the maximum sentence under these rules “given the gravity of the circumstances” that led to his suspension. Since the company closed its Facebook and Instagram accounts on January 7, they will remain suspended until at least January 7, 2023.

At this point, Facebook will consult experts and “assess external factors including cases of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other signs of civil unrest,” said Nick Clegg, vice president for global affairs, in a statement.

In the first major test, the board of directors says that Facebook, not Trump, is the problem

“If we determine that there is still a serious public safety risk, we will extend the restriction for a period of time and continue the assessment until that risk has subsided,” said Clegg.

If Trump is allowed to return, he will face “a tough set of rapidly escalating sanctions,” including a permanent ban that will apply if he continues to break Facebook’s rules.

Facebook’s decision “is an insult to the record-breaking 75 million people and many others who voted for us,” Trump said in an email statement, indicating the number of votes he received in the 2020 presidential election, wrong at. (It was just over 74 million votes.) He also continued his unfounded attacks on the legitimacy of the election.

“You shouldn’t get away with this censorship and silence, and in the end we will win. Our country can no longer stand this abuse!” he said.

Reversal of Facebook’s longstanding approach to political speech

The new rules applied to Trump mark a sharp break with the hand-off approach to political speech that Facebook has pursued for years.

The social network has largely exempted politicians of his guidelines as to what speech is allowed on his platform, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg arguing that political speech is already being examined intensively. This stance has fueled criticism from civil rights groups, democratic lawmakers, political activists, and even the company’s own employees.

Donald Trump's Facebook ban will apply rules of the supervisory body of the social network

Now Facebook is redesigning an important part of its approach and will no longer consider politicians’ posts to be “newsworthy” by default. That said, if politicians break the company’s rules that forbid harmful speech, they must face the same consequences as any other user.

“We will simply apply our newsworthiness balance test to all content equally and measure whether the public interest value of the content outweighs the potential risk of harm by leaving it out,” said Clegg.

This is a reversal of how Facebook has dealt with politicians since 2019, when Clegg said the company made political speeches for “newsworthy content that should normally be seen and heard”.

However, Facebook does not completely lift the exception. It was said that if it decides that the post of politician is against the rules but is newsworthy, it will be left on the website – but the company will disclose if it does.

The company also leaves one more controversial policy: it will continue to exempt politician posts and paid ads from fact-checking. Critics say it gives leaders around the world the freedom to lie and fuel partisan divisions.

Responding to recommendations from the supervisory body

The policy changes were announced on Friday in response to recommendations from the board of directors of Facebook, a panel of outside legal and human rights experts that the company convened to review its toughest substantive decisions.

Last month, the board upheld Facebook’s decision to suspend Trump for violating its guidelines on praising violence, but said the company needed to establish clear rules for high-profile users.

The board’s criticism of Facebook was devastating. It slammed The company said, “The same rules should apply to all users of the platform.” Facebook should act faster when politicians, celebrities and other people with large audiences violate its guidelines, as their influence can cause great damage.

Facebook employees revolt over Zuckerberg's outspoken approach to Trump

In particular, the board of directors has endeavored to obtain the exception rule “newsworthiness”, which is included in 2016. It said the company should better explain the policy and when it is being applied to “influential users” including politicians.

Facebook said Friday it applied that policy to Trump’s account once: in a video from a rally in August 2019 when Trump singled out a member of the crowd.

In response to the board’s recommendations, Facebook said it would be clearer on how it enforces rules for all users. It publishes its system of “Strikes” and penalties for accounts that violate the rules and explains how she reviews posts by high profile “public figures”.

It also established a new policy for dealing with the accounts of public figures “during civil unrest” – the rules it applies to Trump.

Because these accounts can be oversized, if they break the rules “in a manner that incites or celebrates ongoing violent disturbance or riot,” they will be banned from one month to two years compared to the standard penalty of up to 30 days.

In addition, as soon as these users are allowed back on Facebook, they will face “increased penalties”, including permanent bans.

Facebook said it was “obliged to fully implement most of the board’s recommendations.”

However, it has not committed to a proposal to review its role in the involvement in the phony election fraud story that culminated in the January 6 events, but said it is working with law enforcement and working with outside researchers to expand the study to investigate the effect of its platforms on elections.

Editor’s note: Facebook is one of the financial supporters of NPR.


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