Facebook has announced that its suspension of former President Donald Trump will extend for at least two years, starting from the date of the original suspension. Trump was removed from major social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter following his incitement of the January violence at the Capitol, where his supporters tried to forcibly stop the Congressional certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. The mobbing Trump supporters were operating on the basis of the then-president’s lie that the election had been rigged.
Since getting removed from major platforms, Trump has tried to get his rhetoric back out there — but recently, a blog that Trump had been using on his personal website to share statements abruptly shut down, reportedly because the former president was upset about the site getting “mocked” over its low traffic, as The Washington Post put it based on remarks from a source.
Amazingly, the Post reports that on the blog’s final day of operation, the site “received just 1,500 shares or comments on Facebook and Twitter,” which is vastly lower than the nearly instantaneous reach that Trump got when he was allowed to personally use those platforms. Each post on Trump’s now defunct blog had a button where users could share the remarks to social media, but readers didn’t exactly flock to use the feature.
Meanwhile, Facebook said that they’d only allow Trump back on the platform once those two years are up “if the risk to public safety has receded.” That doesn’t seem like an overly likely scenario — Trump has continued to push the lie that the 2020 presidential election was somehow rigged, and recently, reporting emerged from Maggie Haberman of The New York Times that he even believes that he’ll be reinstated as president by August of this year because of supposedly imminent findings of election fraud. There’s obviously no real-world evidence for that idea, but a former president harboring a fantasy of an imminent overthrow of the U.S. government as it stands at present isn’t promising!
The announcement from Facebook that Trump’s suspension will last for at least two years comes after the Facebook Oversight Board concluded in May that the social media platform “lacked a clear rationale for keeping him off the platform indefinitely,” as the Post summarizes. Facebook’s new revelations appear aimed to satisfy the quest for “clear rationale” underlying their treatment of Trump.
Notably, Twitter has insisted that their removal of the former president from their own social platform is permanent, sidestepping this sort of public back-and-forth entirely. Trump claimed during a recent appearance on Fox that “a lot of people are leaving Twitter” following his removal from the site, but in the first quarter of this year, daily active users of the site who see ads actually grew by a whopping 20 percent, reaching a total of 199 million.