US President Donald Trump speaks to officials during a roundtable discussion on community safety, at Mary D. Bradford High School in in Kenosha, Wisconsin on September 1, 2020. – Trump visited Kenosha, the city at the center of a raging US debate over racism, despite pleas to stay away and claims he is dangerously fanning tensions as a reelection ploy.
MANDEL NGAN | AFP | Getty Images
Facebook on Friday announced that it may allow former President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts to be reinstated in January 2023.
At that time, the social media company will reevaluate whether the risk to public safety of allowing Trump back onto its services has receded.
“We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest,” the company said in a blog post. “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.”
Whenever Trump is allowed back on the service, there will be a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Trump further violates the company’s content moderation rules, Facebook said.
This two-year suspension will prevent Trump from using Facebook or Instagram to broadcast to his followers until after the 2022 U.S. mid-term elections.
Facebook suspended Trump’s accounts following the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol. The suspension was Facebook’s most aggressive action against Trump during his four-year term.
Facebook referred the decision to its oversight board a few weeks later, saying that given the significance of the decision, “we think it is important for the board to review it and reach an independent judgment on whether it should be upheld.”
Facebook’s independent Oversight Board in May decided to uphold the company’s decision to suspend Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. In its decision, however, the board noted that Facebook needed to reassess how it moderates the speech of political leaders, clearly outline those rules for the public and determine how long is appropriate for these users to be suspended.
The company said it determined that a two-year suspension was the appropriate length to allow a safe period of time after the acts of the Jan. 6 insurrection and it was a significant enough suspension to be a deterrent to Trump and others from repeating the violations in the future.
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