Donald Trump ripped Facebook — as well as the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg — on Friday for its decision to ban him for at least two years.
“Facebook’s ruling is an insult to the record-setting 75 [million] people, plus many others, who voted for us in the 2020 Rigged Presidential Election,” Trump said in a statement shared with ABC News. “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!”
In a later statement, the former president hinted at a White House return and said his relationship with Zuckerberg is now spoiled. “Next time I’m in the White House there will be no more dinners, at his request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife,” Trump said in a statement shared with The Guardian. “It will be all business!”
Earlier on Friday, Facebook said it was suspending Trump for a minimum of two years for his role in inciting violence and the storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Facebook VP Nick Clegg said Trump’s suspension will lift on Jan. 7, 2023 — exactly two years after he was kicked off the platform — but that his return is also dependent on good behavior, essentially.
Clegg said Facebook will “look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded” by the time Trump’s suspension is set to be lifted. The company will also evaluate several “external factors,” Clegg said, “including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest,” when making its decision.
“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,” he added.
And when Trump is given the green light to return to Facebook, Clegg said there will be a “strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr. Trump commits further violations in [the] future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts.”
Trump was initially given an indefinite suspension from Facebook in January, after hundreds of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. At the time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Trump was booted for using the platform “to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.” The risk of leaving him on Facebook, Zuckerberg added, was “simply too great.”
The indefinite ban also applied to Instagram, which Facebook owns. Trump had a combined 56 million followers across the two platforms at the time he was banned. (Trump was also permanently banned from Twitter in January.)
Facebook’s decision on Friday comes after the company’s “Oversight Board” — an independent 20-person team that weighs in on its censorship decisions — determined last month the company was “justified” in suspending Trump, but that it needed to give him a set time for his suspension; indefinite bans weren’t supported by the company’s rules, the Oversight Board ruled.
Trump launched a new blog in May to stay connected with his fans, following his exile from Facebook and Twitter. But earlier this week, and after only one month of operating the blog, Trump decided to shut it down.