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Facebook suspends Trump until 2023, changes rules for world leaders

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Facebook suspends Trump until 2023, changes rules for world leaders

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Facebook Inc on Friday suspended former US President Donald Trump until at least January 2023 and announced changes to the way it will treat world leaders who break the rules on its site.

Facebook had suspended Trump’s account the day after the deadly January 6 riot on Capitol Hill, finding that he had incited violence. That suspension will last at least two years from the date of the initial lockdown and will only be lifted if the risk to public safety has decreased, Facebook said on Friday.

Trump criticized the decision as a form of censorship and an insult to his voters.

This new timeline denies Republican Trump a major social media megaphone ahead of the November 2022 congressional elections. However, it means he may be back on Facebook long before the next presidential election in late 2024.

Trump has been permanently banned by Twitter and remains suspended by Alphabet’s YouTube after the riots. Trump, who shut down his recently launched blog this week, has announced plans to start his own platform.

“Given the seriousness of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe that his actions constituted a serious violation of our rules that deserve the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols,” said Facebook’s head of global affairs. , Nick Clegg, in the post. .

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The oversight board of Facebook, an independent company-funded group that rules on a small portion of controversial content decisions, in May maintained the company’s unprecedented lockdown on Trump. However, the board ruled that it was wrong to make the ban indefinite and asked for a “proportionate response.”

In a statement on Friday, Trump criticized the decision and repeated the false claims of voter fraud: “Facebook’s ruling is an insult to the 75 million record-breaking people, plus many others, who voted for us in the presidential election. 2020 rigged. They should not be allowed to get away with this censorship and silence, and ultimately we will win. Our country cannot take this abuse anymore! “Various investigations have found no evidence of voter fraud.

Trump added: “The next time I am in the White House, there will be no more dinners, at your request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. Everything will be business! “

Facebook said it would work with experts to decide when the public safety risk had lessened for Trump to return to its platforms. He said he would assess factors including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other indicators of civil unrest.

He also said there would be a series of ever-increasing sanctions that would kick in if Trump broke more rules that could lead to his permanent impeachment.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, speaking to reporters, said of Facebook’s decision on Trump that she felt “quite unlikely that the zebra is going to change its attitude in the next two years, we’ll see.”

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POLICY CHANGES

Social media companies have struggled in recent years over how to handle world leaders and politicians who violate their guidelines.

On Friday, the Nigerian government said it had indefinitely suspended Twitter activities in the country, two days after the company removed a post by President Muhammadu Buhari threatening to punish regional secessionists.

In a major change that also came as part of Facebook’s responses to its oversight meeting on Friday, Facebook said it was “removing the presumption we announced in 2019 that politicians’ speech is inherently in the public interest.”

The company said it would now weigh infringing content from politicians against the potential risk of harm in the same way it does for all users. You will also disclose when you use your “newsworthy” exemption.

However, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the politicians’ posts will remain exempt from third-party data verification.

Facebook has been criticized by those who think it should abandon its hands-off approach to political speech, but it has also been criticized by those, including Republican lawmakers and some free speech advocates, who saw Trump’s ban as an act of disturbing censorship. .

His decision on Trump and the new policy changes could have major ramifications for how Facebook handles world leaders and officials who break the rules on its services. It said public figures who violate its rules by inciting or celebrating ongoing violence or civil unrest could be restricted for periods ranging from one month to two years.

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Social media companies have faced calls from some rights groups and activists to be more consistent in their approach to other leaders who have violated or pushed their rules. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Leader Ali Khamenei, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and lawmakers from India’s ruling party have come under scrutiny.

Facebook also gave its standard system some transparency about how many “notices” users can receive before suspensions, which typically last up to 30 days.

The Trump case has been seen as evidence of how the company responded to the ruling and recommendations of its recently established oversight board.

The board also recommended that Facebook review its role in the electoral fraud conspiracy that led to the Jan. 6 siege, which Facebook said it would partially implement through its partnership with academics studying the role it played in the 2020 U.S. elections. Facebook said it was implementing 15 of the board’s 19 recommendations.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford and Akanksha Rana; Additional reporting by Steve Holland, Susan Heavey, Paresh Dave and Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Arun Koyyur and Nick Zieminski / Grant McCool)

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