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Facebook suspends Trump’s accounts for two years

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Facebook has announced the suspension of the social media accounts of Donald Trump, former president of the United States, for two years.

The announcement includes a suspension of Trump’s Instagram account for the same period.

Trump had been suspended “indefinitely” from Facebook and Instagram on January 7.

The former president had used his social media platforms to mobilise his supporters against the outcome of the November 2020 presidential election.

His posts were reportedly linked to the riot at Capitol Hill, which led to the death of at least four people.

But Facebook’s oversight board, which presides over the company’s content decisions, said an indefinite suspension was not appropriate and gave Facebook six months to make its final decision on the status of Trump’s accounts.

In a statement on Friday, Facebook said in response to the board’s ultimatum, it had suspended Trump’s accounts for two years, effective from January 7, the date of the initial suspension.

It said if there is still a serious risk to public safety by the end of the suspension after evaluation, the restriction period would be extended.

Facebook also said if the suspension is eventually lifted and Trump further violates its rules, his accounts would be taken down permanently.

“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,” the statement reads.

“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.”

Earlier this week, Jason Miller, the former president’s aide, reportedly announced that a blog — ‘From the Desk of Donald J. Trump’ — launched in May 2021 after Trump was banned from social media platforms, has been permanently shut down.

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