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What did Facebook say about the ban on Trump's account?

Former US president Donald Trump has been banned from Facebook for two years after "severe violations" surrounding the January riot at the US Capitol.

What did Facebook say about the ban on Trump's account?
OLIVIER DOULIERY AFP

Donald Trump has reacted to a two-year ban imposed by social media platform Facebook by hinting at a return to the White House and returning to one of his favoured themes; the former president’s insistence that the November elections won by the current incumbent of the Oval Office, Joe Biden, were “rigged.” Facebook announced on Friday that the former Republican president would be banned from the platform until at least January 2023, with the social media giant citing a “severe violation” of Facebook’s rules regarding Trump’s use of the platform in the lead-up to the US Capitol riot on January 6, as a result of which five people lost their lives.

Trump was initially blocked by Facebook in the aftermath of the storming of the Capitol and the social media company said the ban would only be lifted when it is satisfied when the risk to public safety has receded. Facebook also announced it would be making alterations to its rules governing world leaders and their use of the platform.

Trump responded by calling the ban an “insult” to the Americans who had voted for him in the November presidential elections and also sent a broadside in the direction of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. “Next time I’m in the White House there will be no more dinners, at his request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. It will be all business!” he said in a statement.

Facebook ban a blow for Republicans in midterms

This new timeline denies Trump a major social media megaphone ahead of the November 2022 national midterm elections, when his party will be competing for Congressional seats. However, it means he may be able to return to Facebook well before the next presidential election in late 2024.

Trump has been permanently banned by Twitter and remains suspended by Alphabet's YouTube after the riot. The former president, who this week shut down his recently-launched blog, has teased plans to launch his own platform but his team has given little detail.

"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," Facebook's head of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said in the post.

Facebook's independent oversight board in May upheld the company's unprecedented block on Trump, which was enforced because the company said his posts were inciting violence. However, the board ruled it was wrong to make the ban indefinite and called for a "proportionate response."

Trump: “Our Country can’t take this abuse anymore”

Trump said in a statement Friday, "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 said it would work with experts to decide when the public safety risk had subsided for Trump to be restored to its platforms. It said it would evaluate factors including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest.

It also said there would be a set of escalating sanctions that would be triggered if Trump broke further rules that could lead to his permanent removal.