Blog • June 4, 2021

Facebook Extends Trump Censorship on a Sadly Ironic Day

Facebook executives have decided that former President Donald Trump will be banned from their platforms for two years.

The social media giant first banned Trump while he was still the sitting president of the United States. Facebook, along with Twitter and Google, removed Trump’s accounts following the riot in the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Facebook announced at the time that Trump’s ban was “indefinite” and that it would be placed under the review of the Oversight Board, Facebook’s Orwellian panel that holds kangaroo court trials to review user suspensions.

The Oversight Board upheld Trump’s suspension but ruled that it was “not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension.” So, instead of an indefinite ban, they banned Trump for two years. After the two years in Facebook jail are up, Trump may be allowed to return to the platform, but only if certain probationary conditions are met. Many of the conditions set by Facebook are not even reflective of Trump’s own behavior, but rather the behavior of others who supported him.

“We are suspending his accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7 this year,” Facebook stated. “At the end of this period, we 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. 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.”

“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,” the company added.

Facebook said the two-year suspension of Trump’s account should be a long enough sentence to calm any incitement while also deterring Trump from violating the company’s terms in the future. Twitter had already announced in January that Trump’s ban was permanent.

In a statement, Trump condemned Facebook’s ruling and called it an insult to the 74 million people who voted for him. He said that Facebook was censoring him and his supporters.

“They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing, and ultimately, we will win,” Trump wrote. “Our country can’t take this abuse anymore!”

Facebook’s announcement came on June 4, the anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s massacre of pro-democracy students at Tiananmen Square — a historical moment that the Chinese have devoted incredible resources to censoring any knowledge of, including censoring discussions on the Internet.

Big Tech companies like Facebook have been following the trends of the Chinese Communist Party’s censorship. Last week, Facebook had to reverse its policy banning any discussion of the possibility that coronavirus escaped a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan after several reports and President Joe Biden all admitted that it is the most likely source of the pandemic. Prior to the reversal, Facebook censored any posts that countered the Chinese government’s claim that COVID-19 was caused by a bat.

Among other things, free speech allows for people to better get to the truth. Censorship protects the powerful with something to hide. Facebook executives need to look in the mirror and reflect on what they are doing.