Facebook Suspends Donald Trump's Accounts for Two Years

Facebook says the former president will be reinstated to Facebook and Instagram 'only if conditions permit.'
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Facebook  (FB) - Get Report said Friday that Donald Trump's accounts at Facebook and Instagram will be suspended for two years following the former president's praise for rioters during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol Building.

Trump will be banned from the social media sites for two years going back to the date of the initial suspension on Jan. 7.

Shares of Facebook were up 1.3% to $330.23 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," Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs, said in a statement.

Last month, Facebook's independent oversight board upheld the company's initial ban of Trump, but also ruled it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose an "indefinite" suspension in the case.

On Jan. 6, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Building in an attempt to overturn Trump's defeat in the presidential election by disrupting the joint session of Congress that had assembled to count electoral votes to formalize Joe Biden's victory.

Several people, including Capitol police officers, died during or after the attack.

At the end of the suspension, Clegg said Facebook 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," he said. "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."

Clegg said that when the suspension is eventually lifted, "there will be a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr. Trump commits further violations in future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts." 

Facebook said it was grateful that the Oversight Board "acknowledged that our original decision to suspend Mr. Trump was right and necessary, in the exceptional circumstances at the time," he said. 

"But we absolutely accept that we did not have enforcement protocols in place adequate to respond to such unusual events," Clegg added.

The Capitol insurrection led to Trump's second impeachment trial after a majority of U.S. House members voted to impeach Trump for "incitement of insurrection."  The U.S. Senate voted to acquit Trump.

In January, TheStreet founder Jim Cramer said that he had been urging Facebook to suspend Trump.

Last week, the Senate voted last week 54 to 35 on a procedural motion on legislation that would have created a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack, falling short of the 60 votes need to advance the bill.

Facebook also said it was ending its policy that shields politicians from some content moderation rules because their content is considered "newsworthy." The company will also disclose when it does use this exemption.

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