Trump banned from Facebook for two years over 'severe violation of rules'

4 June 2021, 18:03 | Updated: 9 June 2021, 05:45

Donald Trump has been suspended from Facebook for two years
Donald Trump has been suspended from Facebook for two years. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Former US President Donald Trump has been banned from Facebook for two years after a "severe violation of the rules".

Mr Trump was first blocked five months ago after the social media giant's bosses concluded he had used it to incite violence at the US Capitol building in Washington DC at the start of the year.

On Friday, a spokesperson for the firm said: "We are suspending his accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on 7 January this year."

Facebook extended the former president's suspension from its platform until January 2023, saying he "praised people" who took part in the riots.

He is also currently banned from Twitter.

Read more: Facebook confirms Donald Trump's account has not been reactivated

Watch: James O'Brien on 'biggest' lie which led to Trump's extended Facebook ban

Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, wrote in a blog post on Friday: “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.”

Facebook also plans to end a contentious policy championed by CEO Mark Zuckerberg that automatically exempted politicians from certain moderation rules on its site.

The tech giant said that while it will still apply this "newsworthiness" exemption to certain posts it deems to be in the public interest, even if they violate Facebook rules, it will no longer treat material posted by politicians any differently from what is posted by anyone else.

Read more: Trump investigation is now criminal, New York prosecutor says

Watch: Ex-Trump fan explains to James O'Brien how Facebook 'sucked him in'

It comes following recommendations from the company's quasi-independent oversight board, which last month upheld a decision by Facebook to keep Mr Trump indefinitely suspended but said the company must decide what to do with his accounts within six months.

The company wrote in a blog post on Friday: “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.”

The ex-president repeatedly came under fire for using his Facebook posts to peddle misinformation prior to, during and after the US election.

In May, Facebook's panel said Mr Trump's posts during the Capitol riot in January "severely violated Facebook’s rules and encouraged and legitimized violence".

However, it also said the firm violated its own rules by imposing a suspension that was "indefinite" and gave it until November to determine the length of his penalty.

The oversight board acknowledged it was "not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension".