Facebook decides to ban Donald Trump for two years

After the Facebook Oversight Board last month punted the decision back to Facebook itself, the company announced today that it is going to ban former US President Donald Trump from Facebook and Instagram for two years.

This ban comes after Donald Trump praised in his accounts people engaged in violence at the Capitol on January 6. Earlier today, The Verge reported Facebook would change its policy for politicians. Here’s what the company has to say now:

We are today announcing new enforcement protocols to be applied in exceptional cases such as this, and we are confirming the time-bound penalty consistent with those protocols which we are applying to Mr. Trump’s accounts. Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols. We are suspending his accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7 this year.

Facebook says that by the end of this period, the company 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. If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk has receded.

For the future, Facebook says there will be “a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr. Trump commits further violations in future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts.” The two-year ban is effective as of January 7 of this year.

Facebook is also promoting a new strike system page, so users can know what actions will be taken depending on the policies violated.

The company says that out of Oversight Board’s 19 recommendations, the platform is committed to fully implementing 15. One recommendation is being implemented in part, two recommendations are still being assessed, and it won’t take further action on one recommendation. Facebook’s full responses are available here.

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