Facebook has decided this Friday to suspend the accounts of former President Donald Trump for two years . The decision comes almost a month after the independent supervisory board of the social network ruled in favor of suspending the account of the former president, who was silenced on the platform after encouraging the assault on the United States Capitol, on January 6.
The suspension will be reevaluated on January 7, 2023. “Given the seriousness of the circumstances that led to the suspension of Mr. Trump, we believe that his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules, which merits the greatest possible penalty,” wrote the friday morning Nick Clegg, Vice President of Global Affairs for the company and former British Deputy Prime Minister in the Government of David Cameron.
Donald Trump has responded to the punishment with a brief statement. “The next time I am in the White House there will be no more dinners at the request of Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. It will be strictly business! ”
Trump closes his blog after less than a month of use
On May 5, the panel of independent experts hired by Mark Zuckerberg’s company recommended that Facebook decide on Trump’s future on the platform in six months and publicly explain the sanctions for violating the regulations.
The social network suspended Trump, like Twitter, for the violent events recorded in the United States Congress at the hands of a mob of followers of the former Republican president and where five people died. Facebook claims that two posts by Trump violated the rules on hate speech. The company also believed that the presence of the politician in their community was a risk because it could “incite violence again”.
Facebook’s decision will be reviewed at the beginning of 2023, a year that will be vital for the political intentions of Trump, who has already said that he will again seek to be president in the November 2024 elections.
The forced silence on social networks sidelined the Republican to open a blog where he transmitted the inflammatory opinions that shaped his government. This week, however, his team confirmed that it was closing the self-managed platform due to the few visits and readings of the publications.
The company has warned that once the punishment is lifted, it could be followed by new sanctions “if Trump commits new violations in the future.” The outcome could lead to the “definitive suspension of their pages and accounts,” threatens Facebook. Clegg, a Liberal Democrat politician , has admitted that any sanction against Trump is controversial.
“We know that today’s decision will be criticized by many people, whether they are sympathizers of the former president or not, but it is our job to make a proportionate, fair and transparent decision according to the instructions given to us by the supervisory board,” the vice president wrote. .
With Trump out of the White House and in his Mar-a-Lago residence , Facebook readjusts the rules for political speech. The company has also decided this week to end the exceptionality with which politicians enjoyed. Since 2016, the year of Trump’s rise, the company considered speech and political expressions relevant and newsworthy.
This allowed these opinions to avoid moderation filters, a benefit that the algorithm does not leave within the reach of most users. The decision was always defended by Zuckerberg, who assured that freedom of expression provided shelter for positions no matter how controversial or offensive. Clegg stated in 2019 that the sayings of politicians should be “news content that as a general rule be seen and heard.”
This generality will come to an end. Facebook, however, has hinted that it will continue to make some exceptions. The company has promised greater transparency and to communicate to users why it believes some expressions should bypass the daily editing processes, a decision that previously was out of public scrutiny. The sanction processes for violations of community norms will also be transparent.