Facebook has extended former President Donald Trump’s suspension for two years and says it will only reinstate at end January 7th, 2023. It will then reevaluate Trump’s ban to “assess whether the risk to public safety has receded,” Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, announced Friday.
In a blog post, Nick wrote “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 executives previously maintained that speech from politicians was inherently in the public interest and that private companies shouldn’t intervene except in the most exceptional circumstances. That position allowed Trump and other elected leaders to use the platform in ways that normal users would be penalized for under Facebook’s content rules. By opening up politicians to potentially harsher moderation going forward, the company could further anger governments that have already begun to threaten tech companies for censoring political speech.