On June 4, 2021, Facebook announced that former U.S. President Donald Trump would continue to be banned from the platform until at least 2023.
Trump has been prohibited from posting to Facebook (as well as other social media platforms) since the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The social media network said at the time:
We believe the risks of allowing President Trump to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great, so we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks.
Facebook has been trying to determine just how long Trump’s “indefinite” suspension would last. A Facebook Oversight Board was launched to examine the circumstances surrounding the ban and determine if the social network’s punishment was appropriate. The board announced in May that Facebook was right to suspend Trump, but said that the company, not the board, would have to determine the length of Trump’s suspension.
On June 4, 2021, Facebook wrote in a statement:
Last month, the Oversight Board upheld Facebook’s suspension of former US President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following his praise for people engaged in violence at the Capitol on January 6. But in doing so, the board criticized the open-ended nature of the suspension, stating that “it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension.” The board instructed us to review the decision and respond in a way that is clear and proportionate, and made a number of recommendations on how to improve our policies and processes.
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 said it will reexamine Trump’s suspension when this two-year period comes to a close. Trump’s account may eventually be reinstated if it is determined that “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.
When the 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.
Read Facebook’s full statement here.