- The Washington Times - Friday, June 4, 2021

Facebook said Friday it’s suspending former President Donald Trump until at least January 2023, continuing its ban on Mr. Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The social media platform said it was taking the action “given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump‘s suspension.”

It said the suspension will last “for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7th this year.”

“At the end of this period, we will look to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded,” wrote Nick Clegg, Facebook vice president of global affairs on the company’s blog. “We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markets of civil unrest. 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.”

Facebook first banned Mr. Trump for 24 hours following the Jan. 6 riot and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the following day that the suspension would last at least two weeks. As other platforms stepped up their banishments of Mr. Trump — including Twitter permanently banning the former president — Facebook ramped up its own enforcement.

Facebook then referred its ban to its oversight board for review. Mr. Clegg, who previously served as deputy prime minister of the U.K. and leader of the Liberal Democrats, said at the time that the company’s executives hoped the board would affirm the ban on Mr. Trump.

The oversight board, which operates with a $130 million trust from Facebook, instead directed the company in May to review its ban and make its own determination within six months. On Friday, the company said it would follow 15 of the board’s 19 recommendations about how to change its policies relating to its ban of Mr. Trump.

Among its new plans, Facebook intends to end a policy advocated by Mr. Zuckerberg that exempted elected officials from certain moderation rules on its site.

The suspension has made it far more difficult for Mr. Trump to raise funds, ahead of a possible campaign for president in 2024.

Mr. Trump lost tens of millions of followers on social media when Twitter and Facebook suspended him. He created a blog last month but discontinued it after four weeks amid reports that he wasn’t happy about its limited audience.

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