Facebook to restore Trump’s account

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Facebook will restore the social media account of Donald Trump in the coming weeks, the parent company said Wednesday. This brings to an end the ban that the company put on the former president due to Facebook’s perception that he had a role in what they call the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the U.S. Capitol.

Meta wrote on its blog:

  • We will be ending the suspension of Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks.
  • We’ve put new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.
  • The public should be able to hear what politicians are saying so they can make informed choices.

The company said it recognizes it will be “fiercely criticized” for allowing Trump back on the platform, but said it values the free flow of ideas, especially as they are under threat in som many places around the world.”

Trump responded on his own social media site, Truth Social, by saying, that deplatforming a sitting president should never have happened.

“As a general rule, we don’t want to get in the way of open, public and democratic debate on Meta’s platforms — especially in the context of elections in democratic societies like the United States. The public should be able to hear what their politicians are saying — the good, the bad and the ugly — so that they can make informed choices at the ballot box. But that does not mean there are no limits to what people can say on our platform. When there is a clear risk of real world harm — a deliberately high bar for Meta to intervene in public discourse — we act,” Facebook’s blog post said.

“Two years ago, we took action in what were extreme and highly unusual circumstances. We indefinitely suspended then-US President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following his praise for people engaged in violence at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. We then referred that decision to the Oversight Board — an expert body established to be an independent check and balance on our decision-making. The Board upheld the decision but criticized the open-ended nature of the suspension and the lack of clear criteria for when and whether suspended accounts will be restored, directing us to review the matter to determine a more proportionate response,” according to the blog.

In response to the Board, Facebook imposed a time-bound suspension of two years from the date of the original suspension, which was on Jan. 7, 2021, something Facebook admits is an unprecedented length of time for such a suspension.

“We also clarified the circumstances in which accounts of public figures could be restricted during times of civil unrest and ongoing violence, and introduced a new Crisis Policy Protocol to guide our assessment of on and off-platform risks of imminent harm so we can respond with specific policy and product actions. In our response to the Oversight Board, we also said that before making any decision on whether or not to lift Mr. Trump’s suspension, we would assess whether the risk to public safety has receded,” Facebook said.

The company admits the decision was “taken in extraordinary circumstances. The normal state of affairs is that the public should be able to hear from a former President of the United States, and a declared candidate for that office again, on our platforms. Now that the time period of the suspension has elapsed, the question is not whether we choose to reinstate Mr. Trump’s accounts, but whether there remain such extraordinary circumstances that extending the suspension beyond the original two-year period is justified.”

Further, the company appears to have set up special Trump rules: “In the event that Mr. Trump posts further violating content, the content will be removed and he will be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation.

“Our updated protocol also addresses content that does not violate our Community Standards but that contributes to the sort of risk that materialized on January 6, such as content that delegitimizes an upcoming election or is related to QAnon. We may limit the distribution of such posts, and for repeated instances, may temporarily restrict access to our advertising tools. This step would mean that content would remain visible on Mr. Trump’s account but would not be distributed in people’s Feeds, even if they follow Mr. Trump. We may also remove the reshare button from such posts, and may stop them being recommended or run as ads. In the event that Mr. Trump posts content that violates the letter of the Community Standards but, under our newsworthy content policy, we assess there is a public interest in knowing that Mr. Trump made the statement that outweighs any potential harm, we may similarly opt to restrict the distribution of such posts but leave them visible on Mr. Trump’s account. We are taking these steps in light of the Oversight Board’s emphasis on high-reach and influential users and its emphasis on Meta’s role “to create necessary and proportionate penalties that respond to severe violations of its content policies.”

Facebook said it realizes people will disagree with the company decision, but “a decision had to be made, so we have tried to make it as best we can in a way that is consistent with our values and the process we established in response to the Oversight Board’s guidance.”

12 COMMENTS

    • It amazes me as well! From the first time I heard of Farcebook, I KNEW that I wanted absolutely nothing to do with it — it was obvious that it was a personal data-mining, privacy-destroying program from the get-go. Frankly, I feel that you would have to be an idiot to have anything to do with Farcebook — or with Twitter, or Google, or Tiktok, etc. etc.

  1. That’s a relief to hear fb and a step in the right direction. President Trump says many encouraging things which are very good leadership for America.

  2. What a joke. An unapologetic apology at best! Still making excuses for their overtly political actions after two years.
    Being barred from public address should never happen to any political leader. Not even to a scumbag like nancy pelosi. Part of their job is to talk to us, so the answer to talk that we DON’T like is to rebut that speech with more speech. Never reduce the ability to speak publicly.

    • Actually Lucinda, Trump and the other Sucker Conner’s have much in common, remember Covid and that remarkable Jab? Yeah, seems Trump and the science deniers over at the Alphabet Agencies charged with Public Health and Big Pharma were in lock step aided by their pals in Social Media.
      Imagine that!

  3. I’m not on Facebook so it that regard I don’t care. But there is a bigger issue which needs examining.

    In the modern era, electronic town halls are how most people communicate. While they are privately held entities, they serve a de facto public trust as the town square.
    At some point it’s inevitable they will be regulated like utilities.

    If this happens, the trick will be to find the balance between free enterprise (ban who you want) and ensuring all voices, however obnoxious or offensive, have equitable access to be heard.

  4. Regulations apply already. It is a privilege to do business and make wealth off of the American people. A business is pursuant to the jurisdiction. Some business operate in the private. They don’t have business hours, they do not invite the PUBLIC with lobby’s, waiting rooms, Open and Closed signs displayed, they do not have a cash register to accommodate daily or frequent transactions with a state business created by the state corporation pursuant to the US Constitution. With these evidences of public invitations you must obey the US Constitution. If you operate in the private, from your home, invitation only by appointment, with no lobby/ waiting area no hours you displayed you are open are in “the private” and are not BOUND to the US Constitution. Doctors know very little about the US Constitution. Completely ignorant. (Foreign) (allegedly federal) Agencies like the CDC know almost nothing about the US Constitution and will not give it so much as a tip of the hat and do not understand it other than it is a “document” they are uninterested in.

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