Former US President Donald Trump’s accounts will be suspended from Facebook for two years following the platform’s finding that he stoked violence ahead of the deadly January 6 insurrection.
The move is in response to recommendations from the company’s semi-independent oversight board, which last month upheld a decision by Facebook to keep Mr Trump indefinitely suspended but said the company must decide what to do with his accounts within six months.
The board said two of Mr Trump’s Facebook posts on January 6 “severely violated” the content standards of both Facebook and Instagram.
On Friday, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, wrote of the two-year suspension: “At the end of this period, we will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded. We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest.”
Twitter, meanwhile, suspended Trump from their platform permanently in January.
Alongside the Trump ban, Facebook said it also plans to end a contentious policy championed by CEO Mark Zuckerberg that automatically exempted politicians from certain moderation rules on its site.
The social media giant said that while it will still apply a “newsworthiness” exemption to certain posts it deems to be in the public interest even if they violate Facebook rules, it will no longer treat material posted by politicians any differently from what is posted by anyone else.
Donald Trump has appeared to drop his strongest hint yet at another presidential run in 2024, responding to news of his two-year ban from Facebook on Friday by saying he would not invite Mark Zuckerberg to dinner “next time I’m in the White House”.
It has also been widely reported this week that Trump believes he will be reinstated in the presidency by August.
He will not. But in his statement on Friday he did not say if he thought he would return to the White House because he would be reinstated or because he would run for the Republican nomination again and then defeat Joe Biden or another Democrat.
Trump’s statement read: “Next time I’m in the White House there will be no more dinners, at his request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. It will be all business!”
Trump has a history of using public statements to troll his opponents and a long record of lies and exaggerations and promoting baseless conspiracy theories. At the same time Trump has maintained a strong grip on the Republican party and there is intense speculation about whether or not he would run for the presidency again.
Nick Clegg, the former British deputy prime minister who is now Facebook’s vice-president of global affairs, announced the social media website’s ban on Trump until 2023.
It follows the recommendation of Facebook’s oversight board. Trump has been suspended from the social media site since January, when he incited supporters to attack the US Capitol in service of his lie that his defeat by Joe Biden was the result of electoral fraud.
In a first statement on the suspension, Trump said it was an “insult” to those who voted for him in “the rigged presidential election” and said: “They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing.”
Amid striking polling about support for his lies among Republican voters, Trump still dominates polls of possible contenders for the party’s nomination in 2024.
Trump appears to be convincing himself the election was stolen and that some mechanism exists by which he might be reinstated, a belief apparently stoked by Mike Lindell, the chief executive of MyPillow and a hardline Trump supporter.
According to CNN, which confirmed reporting by Maggie Haberman of the New York Times and by the conservative National Review, Trump has asked advisers: “What do you think of this theory?”
A source also told CNN: “People have told him that it’s not true.”