D.he former US President Donald Trump will initially be banned from Facebook until the beginning of 2023. The online network announced on Friday. Then you will weigh up with the help of experts whether there is still a risk to public safety through his Facebook presence.
Facebook, Twitter and Youtube banned Trump in January shortly before the end of his term in office. The trigger was the storming of the US Capitol by his supporters – and that he expressed sympathy for the attackers. He also continues to claim, without any evidence, that his November presidential election victory was stolen by fraud. He heated up the tension.
At that time, Facebook suspended Trump’s account until further notice and submitted this decision to its independent supervisory body for review. The “Oversight Board” can reverse such steps in the last instance. The panel left the decision in force. However, it criticized the fact that the Facebook rules did not provide for an unlimited ban and instructed the online network to re-examine the case. Facebook has now suspended Trump for two years – but the deadline will start at the beginning of January this year.
Trump criticized the decision as an “insult” to 75 million voters who would have voted for him in the presidential election in November. “You shouldn’t get away with censoring and silencing – and in the end we will win.” Trump reiterated his never-substantiated claim that the election was rigged. In another message, Trump added and wrote that when he was back in the White House, there would no longer be dinner with Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and his wife “at his request”.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Friday when asked about the Facebook ban on US President Joe Biden’s predecessor, the decision is entirely in the hands of the company. The Biden government is of the opinion that every major platform such as Facebook or Twitter that reaches millions of Americans has a responsibility to take action against disinformation. “We have (…) learned a lot from the ex-president over the past few years about his behavior and his use of these platforms,” said Psaki. So it doesn’t seem very likely that it will change over the next two years.
Final banishment still possible
Facebook stressed that if Trump were allowed to return to the online network, there would be tough sanctions if he violated the platform’s rules. They could go as far as final banishment from the platform. If Facebook comes to the conclusion in 2023 that Trump continues to pose a threat to public safety, the lock will be extended for a further limited period, it said. Twitter has already stressed that Trump has no way back on the platform. Google’s video platform Youtube, on the other hand, wants to unblock its profile when “the risk of violence has decreased”. A period for this has not yet been named.
Trump still has no access to major online platforms, while there is speculation about a possible candidacy in the 2024 presidential election. Most recently, he tried to get his messages through a blog section on his website in addition to emails. It was a kind of one-man Twitter, but it was shut down after a few weeks. From Trump’s entourage it is also repeatedly reported that the president wants to start his own social media platform.
In general, Facebook wants to be more transparent about decisions in which problematic content is left on the platform because it is newsworthy. The online network emphasized that such exceptions will be expressly pointed out in the future. In the future, such contributions by politicians will no longer be treated differently from those of other users. This is also a consequence of the recommendations of the supervisory body.
The “Oversight Board” consists of legal experts, activists and former politicians and is a kind of “Supreme Court” of Facebook, whose decisions even the founder and boss Zuckerberg cannot overrule. The panel said on Friday that it is examining Facebook’s decision on Trump and will comment when this investigation is completed.