The company’s announcement comes after the independent Facebook Oversight Board upheld the company’s suspension of the ex-U.S. president after Trump praised people engaged in violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
Facebook’s two-year sanction against Trump for “severe violations” was deemed to be “long enough to allow a safe period of time after the acts of incitement, to be significant enough to be a deterrent to Mr Trump and others from committing such severe violations in future, and to be proportionate to the gravity of the violation itself,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s VP of global affairs, wrote in a blog post.
According to Clegg, “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.”
After the two-year time period is up, in January 2023, “we will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded” in whether to reinstate Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, Clegg continued. “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.”
When Trump’s suspension is eventually lifted, “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,” Clegg added.