Facebook’s ban of former President Donald Trump may be lifted in January 2023, a company executive suggested in an interview.
Facebook Global Affairs President Nick Clegg told startup news company Semafor during a Sept. 22 event that his platform might allow Trump back on the platform in January 2023, when Trump’s two-year suspension expires.
“When you make a decision that affects the public realm, you need to act with great caution,” Clegg reportedly said, explaining that Facebook will consult “experts” and consider the supposed “risk of real world harm,” Semafor wrote. It is the first time Clegg has spoken publicly on the subject.
According to Reclaim The Net, Clegg also said during the Semafor event that Facebook risked becoming “the greatest industrial-scale censor ever in human history.”
Facebook originally suspended Trump after the events at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed that Trump had provoked “violence.” Facebook’s Oversight Board upheld the decision in May 2021. In actuality, Trump told his supporters that day to “stay peaceful.” Trump had 35 million Facebook followers before the platform banned him, Semafor reported.
Yet Facebook is still claiming Trump’s presence on the platform was risky. “If we think there is … content on our platform which will lead to real-world harm — physical harm — then we feel we have a clear responsibility to act against it,” Clegg alleged, according to Semafor Media.
Meanwhile, Facebook allows multiple Russian state-affiliated accounts to remain on the platform, despite Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
While Facebook continues to restrict Trump’s free speech, Facebook’s Zuckerberg recently admitted that his company buckled to FBI pressure and censored the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, which swayed the 2020 election. Trump later slammed the FBI’s and Facebook’s “Election Interference” on his Truth Social platform.
Facebook hasn’t acknowledged the damaging effects of its censorship on the 2020 election. But Facebook recently announced that it would increase censorship of supposed “election misinformation” leading up to the 2022 midterms. The platform said it created a “dedicated team focused on the 2022 midterms to help combat election and voter interference.”
Facebook is also one of the companies which, according to the Biden White House, is launching an initiative to target supposed “violent extremist ideologies” online.
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