Former US President Donald Trump will not be allowed to use his Facebook account until January 7, 2023 at the earliest. According to an official statement issued on June 4, 2021, the social network converted Trump’s permanent ban into a two-year ban.

The reasoning behind this decision stems from the new laws of the Facebook supervisory board, which a month ago declared an unlimited suspension of accounts deemed incompatible with the Facebook rules.

Facebook imposed the blockade after supporters of Trump stormed the Capitol in the US capital Washington on January 6, 2021.

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According to the panel, the decision was justified because Trump seriously violated at least two of Facebook’s community standards as well as Instagram’s community guideline. These acts forbade praise and support for people who participated in acts of violence.

New rules Applied for the First Time

The so-called Oversight Board had also suggested that Facebook give itself new rules for dealing with influential users and politicians. If they repeatedly published news that posed a risk of injury under international human rights law, Facebook should lock the account for a period of time sufficient to protect itself from impending harm.

“The embargo periods should be long enough to prevent wrongdoing and, in appropriate cases, may include the deletion of accounts or pages.”

Facebook has now implemented this requirement and explained it in a 20-page document (PDF). Accordingly, in times of “political unrest and persistent violence” there will be staggered account freezes of one month, six months, one year and two years. This regulation has also become part of the terms of use.

Experts To Still Assess Trump’s Risk

According to Facebook, given the gravity of the circumstances that would have led to the suspension of the account, Trump “deserves the highest penalty that is applicable under the new enforcement rules.”

However, Trump will not automatically get his account back in January 2023, because Facebook wants to assess together with experts whether the risk to public safety has decreased. “If we find that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a period of time and continue reassessing until that risk has subsided,” read the statement.

Once the ban is lifted, “there will be a tough package of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be imposed if Trump commits further violations in the future, including the permanent removal of his pages and accounts.”

The possibility that the suspension will be extended does not seem to be ruled out at the moment.

 

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