By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Facebook on Friday announced that it may allow former President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts to be reinstated in January 2023.
At that time, the social media company will reevaluate whether the risk to public safety of allowing Trump back onto its services has receded.
“We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest,” the company said in a blog post. “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.”
If Trump is allowed back on the service, there will be a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Trump further violates the company’s content moderation rules, Facebook said.
This two-year suspension will prevent Trump from using Facebook or Instagram to broadcast to his followers until after the 2022 U.S. midterm elections.
Facebook suspended Trump’s accounts following the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol. The decision was Facebook’s most aggressive action against Trump during his four-year term.
Facebook referred the ban to its oversight board a few weeks later, saying that given the significance of the suspension, “we think it is important for the board to review it and reach an independent judgment on whether it should be upheld.”
Facebook’s independent Oversight Board in May decided to uphold the company’s choice to suspend Trump’s accounts. In its decision, however, the board noted that Facebook needed to reassess how it moderates the speech of political leaders, clearly outline those rules for the public and determine how long is appropriate for these users to be suspended.
The company said it determined that a two-year suspension was the appropriate length to allow a safe period of time after the acts of the Jan. 6 insurrection and it was a significant enough suspension to be a deterrent to Trump and others from repeating the violations in the future.
In a statement issued by his office, Trump criticized Facebook’s decision, calling it an insult to his voters and falsely claiming that the 2020 presidential election was rigged.
“They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing, and ultimately, we will win,” Trump said in the statement. “Our country can’t take this abuse anymore!”