Facebook on Friday announced that former US President Donald Trump will be banned from its platform until at least January 7, 2023, having deemed two-years the appropriate period of exile for statements interpreted as an effort “to provoke further violence,” as CEO Mark Zuckerberg put it when the ban was announced.

Trump lost access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts on January 7, 2021, “following his praise for people engaged in violence at the Capitol on January 6,” said Nick Clegg, former British Deputy Prime Minister and now VP of Global Affairs, in a blog post.

The ostensibly independent Facebook Oversight Board, funded by Facebook, reviewed its benefactor’s decision in May and concluded that the ban was justified, but said “it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension.”

So Facebook has standardized its excommunication times for public figures mouthing off amid civil unrest in a way that imperils people. The exclusion period now ranges from one month to two years for the most severe infractions.

Even so, Trump’s ban remains indefinite because it could be extended, at the discretion of Facebook.

“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,” explained Clegg, adding, “Mr. Trump is and will remain free to express himself publicly via other means.”

Trump tried that recently, launching a blog in early May, only to shut it down earlier this week. The ex-prez, once a click magnet for Facebook and other websites and now just a confused loser, permanently lost his Twitter account on January 8, 2021.

Last week, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law to prevent politicians from being deplatformed by social media companies that don’t own theme parks. Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter, among others, promptly sued claiming the law is unconstitutional.

Facebook’s renovated rules come with a commitment to be “more transparent about the decisions we make and how they impact our users.”

The social ad biz said it will no longer “treat content posted by politicians any differently from content posted by anyone else” when considering content removal and will measure “whether the public interest value of the content outweighs the potential risk of harm by leaving it up.”

Except Facebook it will continue to treat politicians differently: political figures will continue to be exempt from having their ads or posts reviewed by its fact-checking program. A company spokesperson told The Register that policy has not changed. ®



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