WASHINGTON DC, USA: Facebook Inc has suspended former US president Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts for two years.
He was barred indefinitely from both sites in January in the wake of posts he made on the US Capitol riots, but last month Facebook’s Oversight Board criticised the open-ended penalty.
Facebook said Trump’s actions were “a severe violation of our rules”.
Trump said the move was “an insult” to the millions who voted for him in last year’s presidential election.
Facebook’s move comes as the social media giant is also ending a policy shielding politicians from some content moderation rules.
It said that it would no longer give politicians immunity for deceptive or abusive content based on their comments being newsworthy.
Trump’s ban was effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7, Facebook’s vice-president of global affairs Nick Clegg said in a post.
“Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available,” it added.
“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.”
On his return, Trump will be held to “a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions,” for any violations, Clegg’s statement noted.
In a statement issued from his Save America political action committee, Trump said: “Facebook’s ruling is an insult to the record-setting 75 million people, plus many others, who voted for us…”
“They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing, and ultimately, we will win. Our country can’t take this abuse anymore!”
In a second statement on the two-year ban, Trump attacked Facebook’s founder.
“Next time I’m in the White House there will be no more dinners, at his request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife,” the former president said. “It will be all business!”
The move by Facebook allows Trump to return to the platform before the 2024 presidential election.
It also comes as he prepares to again hold the large scale in-person rallies that were a signature of his campaigns and presidency. One of his first is planned for Dallas, Texas, in early July, according to local media.
Earlier this week, it emerged that the communications platform set up by Trump in the wake of his social media bans – From the Desk of Donald J Trump – has been permanently shut down.
In addition to Facebook, which has over two billion monthly users, Trump has also been banned from Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitch and other social media platforms over the January riot.
Last month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican Trump ally, signed the first law in the US that punishes tech companies for de-platforming politicians.