Donald Trump could return to Facebook in January 2023. However, the world’s largest online network still wants to check whether the ex-president is a threat to public safety.
Former President Donald Trump will remain blocked on Facebook for the time being until the beginning of 2023. This was announced by the online network on Friday. After that, it said it would weigh up with the help of experts whether there was still a risk to public safety from his Facebook presence.
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube had blocked Trump in January shortly before the end of his term. The trigger was the storming of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters – and that he expressed sympathy for the attackers. He also continues to claim, without any supporting evidence, that his victory in November’s presidential election was stolen by fraud. He thus fueled tensions.
Facebook suspended Trump’s account at the time until further notice and submitted the decision to its independent oversight board for review. The “Oversight Board” can reverse such steps in the last instance. The board left the decision in place. However, it criticized the fact that Facebook’s rules do not provide for an indefinite suspension and instructed the online network to reconsider the case. Now Facebook suspended Trump for two years – but the deadline runs from the beginning of January this year.
“They shouldn’t get away with it”
Trump criticized the decision as an “insult” to 75 million voters who would have voted for him in November’s presidential election. “They shouldn’t get away with censoring and silencing – and in the end we will win.” In doing so, Trump again repeated his claim, never backed up with facts, that the election was rigged. In another message, Trump followed up by writing that when he was back in the White House, there would be no more – “at his request” – dinners with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday when asked about the Facebook block against U.S. President Joe Biden’s predecessor in office that the decision was solely in the company’s hands. But she said the Biden administration believes that any major platform such as Facebook or Twitter, which reaches millions of Americans, has a responsibility to crack down on disinformation. “We have (…) learned a lot from the ex-president over the past couple of years about his behavior and his use of these platforms,” Psaki said. So it does not seem very likely that he would change over the course of the next two years, he added.
Trump thus continues to have no access to major online platforms
Facebook stressed that should Trump be allowed to return to the online network, there would be tough sanctions if he violated rules of the platform. They could extend to a permanent ban from the platform. If Facebook concluded in 2023 that Trump continued to pose a threat to public safety, the ban would be extended for another temporary period, it said.
Twitter already stressed that there was no way back on the platform for Trump. Google’s video platform Youtube, on the other hand, wants to unblock his profile when “the risk of violence has decreased.” A timeframe for this has not yet been named.
Trump thus continues to have no access to major online platforms, while there is speculation about a possible candidacy in the 2024 presidential election. Most recently, he tried to reach his messages through a blog section on his website in addition to emails. It was a kind of one-man Twitter, but it was discontinued after a few weeks. Trump’s entourage has also repeatedly said that the president wants to launch his own social media platform.