Published: Sat, June 05, 2021
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Facebook suspends former US President Trump's account until 2023

Facebook suspends former US President Trump's account until 2023

"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 vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg said in a post.

Meanwhile, Twitter has permanently banned the former president's prized Twitter account, where he forged a new path of communicating directly with the American public and sometimes stoked division.

Because the two-year time frame allows for the possibility that Trump will be allowed on the site in the run-up to the 2024 election - an election he has teased the possibility of running in - it will also allow the company to sidestep some complaints about them silencing a potential presidential candidate. "Our Country can't take this abuse anymore!"

And the company declined to fully implement some of the board's other recommendations, including launching a comprehensive review of whether Facebook's actions contributed to the spread of election fraud claims and post-election violence around January 6.

"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", he wrote. After fielding thousands of public comments and reviewing the case for over three months, the board in May upheld Trump's ban but told Facebook to make the call on whether his ouster should be permanent. The company will review the ban at the end of this period and will assess whether to reinstate the accounts after consulting with experts.

It will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest.

Further, Facebook said it will also impose a "strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions" that will be triggered if the former US President breaks its rules in future, "up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts". Facebook said it was implementing 15 of the 19 board recommendations.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki, meanwhile, expressed doubt at the notion that Trump could change his posting habits enough to avoid further penalties.

"Donald Trump and his allies used Facebook to incite an insurrection and attempted coup of the United States Government".

"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", he stated. Under the new rules, an account can also be suspended for a month, six months, or a year, depending on the severity of a violation.

A "newsworthiness" allowance granted to a small number of posts at Facebook left Trump free to rile supporters with claims that had been disproven.

Former Trump spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany, meanwhile, accused the company of trying to tip the electoral scales against conservatives.

The board also recommended Facebook review its role in the election fraud conspiracy that led to the January 6 siege, which Facebook said it would partially implement through its partnership with academics studying the role it played in the 2020 USA elections.

"The Board believes the steps Facebook has committed to today will contribute to greater clarity, consistency and transparency in the way the company moderates content, and promote public safety, defend human rights and respect freedom of expression".

But, Clegg says, "our job is to make a decision in as proportionate, fair and transparent a way as possible".

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