After a lengthy decision process Facebook has finally come to a decision about whether or not they plan to ban Former President Donald Trump from the social media platform. Facebook will suspend Donald Trump’s accounts following the finding that he “stoked violence” before the incidents at the Capitol on January 6. “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,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, wrote in a blog post. The social media giant isn’t guaranteeing that Donald Trump will be allowed to return at the end of the ban.
Why was Trump banned?
On January 6, 2021 a group of disgruntled voters stormed the capitol building and gained entry. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have suggested Donald Trump incited the riot and even encouraged it. Most of the Right has been furious with the decisions big tech companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, have made. Lara Trump had a lot to say when an interview with her and the former president was removed from Facebook in February. “They want you to forget he ever existed. They don’t want you to see him, they don’t want you to hear from him. Look away, move on, shut up and go on about your lives, forget Donald Trump existed. This is really scary stuff.” It is very scary stuff indeed. How can we just remove a Former President from the public eye? An email Lara Trump posted shows a message warning her team about uploading the Facebook video. The email reminded them that “content posted on Facebook and Instagram in the voice of President Trump is not currently allowed on our platform (including new posts with President Trump speaking) and will be removed if posted, resulting in additional limitations on accounts that posted it.” Twitter permanently banned Donald Trump’s account fairly quickly after January 6. Facebook attempted to follow Twitter but hit some red tape in their own policies regarding banning accounts.
Facebook Tries to Permanently Ban Trump
When Facebook attempted to ban President Trump indefinitely an oversight board was required to finalize the decision. The Oversight Board is an independent third-party. “The board was established last year to make the final call on some of the most difficult content decisions Facebook makes,” Clegg wrote in a post. “It is an independent body and its decisions are binding – they can’t be overruled by CEO Mark Zuckerberg or anyone else at Facebook.” The board called Facebook lazy for referring the issue to them and ordered the social media giant to review the matter and make their own decision, according to their own policies for banning accounts. The board did agree with banning Donald Trump’s account but did not agree with banning the account indefinitely. The board gave Facebook six months to finalize a decision and suggested Facebook implement new policies and guidelines for these situations. Facebook now plans to end a policy implemented by Mark Zuckerberg that exempted politicians from rules that banned hate speech and abuse.
Facebook’s New Policy and Final Decision
Facebook says they never applied the policy to former President Trump. The social media giant said that while it will still apply this exemption to certain posts that are important to public interest, material posted by politicians won’t be treated any differently from that posted by anyone else. Facebook said it will be clearly publicly broadcasted when the exemption has been applied to a post. The big tech giant also has decided to ban President Trump for the next two years at least. Clegg said Facebook, at the end of the two year ban, will meet with experts to look at “external factors,” such as “instances of violence” and other “markers of civil unrest” to decide if the “risk to public safety” has gone away. When/if the ban is lifted Facebook has openly said they will be closely watching Donald Trump’s account. Facebook said there will be a set of rapidly escalating sanctions if Donald Trump commits further violations. The punishment for these sanctions are the permanent removal of his pages and accounts.
Donald Trump called Facebook’s ruling “an insult” to his supporters. “They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing,” he said in a statement. The two-year ban is considered to have begun on January 7, and will keep Trump off Facebook and Instagram through the 2022 midterm elections. How do you feel about Trump being banned on major social media? Should Facebook end the ban sooner. Should politicians be treated the same as everyone else on social media?