Facebook announced Friday that former President Donald Trump will be suspended from the social media network for two years, after which the company will reassess Trump’s “risk to public safety” (AP News).
Facebooks declared that Trump stoked violence ahead of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs announced that the company took into account “external factors” such as instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and civil unrest. Additionally, Facebook will end its policy that automatically exempted politicians from its rules banning hate speech and abuse. Former president Trump called the decision “an insult” and said in a news release, “They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing, and ultimately, we will win. Our Country can’t take this abuse anymore!”
Social media networks have become irreplaceable tools in political campaigns. As Trump continues to tease a 2024 presidential run, his aides report that he has been working on his own social media platform. However, nothing has materialized as of yet. In light of the growing role of social media in government and politics, Facebook will no longer treat material posted by politicians any different and will make all exemptions public knowledge. These announcements are in response to the recommendations made by the companies somewhat independent oversight board. Last month, the board made a decision to uphold Trump’s suspension from Facebook but recommended that a timeline be placed on the suspension.
The board had agreed with Facebook that two of Trump’s posts on January 6th “severely violated” the standard of both Facebook and Instagram. The two year suspension is effective from January 7th, leaving Trump with 19 months before the case can be reassessed. In Friday’s post, Clegg anticipated criticism from all sides of the political aisle. “We know that any penalty we apply – or choose not to apply – will be controversial. There are many people who believe it was not appropriate for a private company like Facebook to suspend an outgoing President from its platform, and many others who believe Mr. Trump should have immediately been banned for life,” he said in his post. It seems Facebook has taken a “wait-and-see” approach to resolving the issue with the former President.
ARTICLE: JILLIAN WEIDNER
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: WYMT
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