Facebook says Donald Trump’s suspension will last at least 2 years, but can be lifted if there is no ‘serious risk to public safety’

Trump Zuckerberg
Donald Trump Mark Zuckerberg Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty
  • Facebook has decided to suspend former president Donald Trump’s account for at least 2 years.
  • Trump can be reinstated pending an evaluation to assess if “the risk to public safety has receded.”
  • The decision follows the Oversight Board’s ruling to uphold Facebook’s initial decision to suspend Trump’s account following the January 6 Capitol insurrection.
  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

Facebook will suspend former President Donald Trump’s account for at least two years, the company announced on Friday.

The firm plans to suspend Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts two years, beginning on the initial suspension date of January 7, 2021.

Facebook suspended his account after a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol in an attack that led to five deaths, including a police officer. Trump had posted a video to Facebook telling the mob, “We love you, you’re very special,” and to go home.

“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,” Facebook announced in the release.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki cast doubt that Trump would regain access to Facebook during a Friday press conference.

“We learned a lot from the president – the former president – over the last couple of years about his behavior and how he uses these platforms,” Psaki said. “Feels pretty unlikely that the zebra is going to change its stripes over the next two years.”

Trump said in a statement that “Facebook’s ruling is an insult to the record-setting 75M people, plus many others, who voted for us in the 2020 Rigged Presidential Election. They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing, and ultimately, we will win. Our Country can’t take this abuse anymore!”

Facebook’s Oversight Board, an external group of experts that can overrule CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s decisions, upheld the company’s January suspension of Trump, but added that it was “not appropriate” for the company to “impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension.” The Oversight Board asked Facebook to review its decision within six months.

Facebook also responded on Friday with clearer guidelines of how it will punish political leaders when they break content rules, stating that politicians will no longer be immune from penalties.

“When we assess content for newsworthiness, we will not treat content posted by politicians any differently from content posted by anyone else,” Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, wrote in a press release.