June 7, 2021
Facebook announced on June 4 that it would continue to ban former President Donald Trump from its platform for two years, and announced new policies for how it will handle speech from prominent politicians moving forward, Axios reports.
The decision—which comes in response to guidance from Facebook’s Independent Oversight Board—will bar Trump from using the social media site for the next two years, as he prepares to launch a potential 2024 presidential campaign.
Facebook had requested the Oversight Board to evaluate its decision after the company issued an indefinite ban on the former president following the Capitol insurrection on January 6.
In a blog post responding to the Board’s policy recommendations, Facebook’s Head of Global Affairs Nick Clegg said the company would suspend Trump’s accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7 of this year.
Clegg said that the company decided to implement a two-year suspension for severe policy violations because it needs to be long enough “to allow a safe period of time after the acts of incitement,” and “significant enough to be a deterrent to Mr. Trump and others from committing such severe violations in future.”
According to Axios, he also said Facebook thinks the two-year timeline needs to be proportionate to the gravity of the violation itself.
At the end of the two-year period, Clegg said Facebook will look to experts “to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded.” In doing so, Clegg said, the tech giant will evaluate:
- External factors, “including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly, and other markers of civil unrest;” and
- “Whether there still remains a serious risk to public safety, in which case the company will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk has receded.
When the suspension eventually is lifted, Clegg said Facebook will implement a strict set of “rapidly escalating sanctions” that will be triggered if Trump “commits further violations in future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts.”
Facebook also said it would implement some of the Board’s broader policy recommendations around handling speech from politicians.
- Facebook on Friday said it will no longer give politicians special exemptions from its content rules, a huge departure from its years-long policy of treating politicians’ speech differently from everyday users.
- It will for the first time make public its “strikes system” for policy violations so that users understand how close they are to being penalized by the platform.
- It will also start disclosing when it uses a “newsworthiness” exemption in its quarterly transparency reports.
- The Verge first reported some of Facebook’s new policies Thursday, a day before they were announced.
- The Oversight Board said Friday that it’s reviewing Facebook’s response and
These new rules will make it much harder for politicians to get away with controversial posts. As Clegg noted, they are also meant to serve as a deterrent against politicians violating Facebook’s policies in the future.
Research contact: @axios