Social media companies decided to silence President Trump after the January 6 incident at the Capitol, where peaceful protesters trespassed on the property. One woman was shot in cold blood by a cop, yet the media portrayed protesters as terrorists. President Trump spoke out, asking everyone to continue to be peaceful and to go home. Social media companies responded by banning the President and supporters, and those who refused to do so (like Parler) were shut down. But if you thought Trump would still be gone from social media for the 2024 election, Facebook says you’re wrong.
The social media giant says that President Trump’s unjust suspension will last until January 27, 2023. This means that he will be around, unless they change their minds, to tell Americans the truth. Now, this is not set in stone. The company says it will review expert opinion on whether President Trump’s presence on the platforms poses a “serious risk to public safety.”
Facebook’s Oversight Board recently concluded that “it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension” according to a statement from the company, which announces the tentative end date to Trump’s ban:
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.
At the end of this period, we will look to experts to assess whether 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.
“In establishing the two year sanction for severe violations, we considered the need for it 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,” Facebook says.
Let’s be clear: President Trump should not have been banned at all. But the Oversight Board did the right thing in forcing the company to actually declare an end date to the ban.