Facebook announced Friday that it was suspending former President Donald Trump from its platform for at least two years as punishment for his "praise for people engaged in violence at the Capitol on January 6."
In a statement, Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, said the company was announcing the end date of Trump's suspension in response to criticism from its oversight board.
"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," Clegg's statement said. "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."
Trump, who was impeached by the House of Representatives on the charge of "incitement of insurrection" in January, had his Facebook and Instagram accounts suspended the day after a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to block the certification of Electoral College votes showing that Joe Biden had beaten him in the Nov. 3 election.
"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," Clegg said in his statement. "We are suspending his accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7 this year."
Facebook said that even after the two-year suspension was finished, the company would monitor Trump's accounts and could decide to permanently ban him from its platform.
"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," Clegg said.
Trump responded to Facebook's decision with a statement of his own.
"Facebook’s ruling is an insult to the record-setting 75M people, plus many others, who voted for us in the 2020 Rigged Presidential Election," Trump said, though there is no evidence that fraud decided the 2020 presidential election. "They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing, and ultimately, we will win. Our Country can’t take this abuse anymore!"
While Trump earned roughly 74 million votes in 2020, Biden received approximately 81 million.
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