Jan 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Facebook extends Trump ban indefinitely over incitement of violence

Zuckerberg
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump is banned from posting on his Facebook and Instagram accounts for at least the next two weeks until the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden is complete, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post Thursday.

Why it matters: It's an extraordinary step for Facebook to take, given that the company has been one of the slowest to take action against the President's account and has historically prioritized free speech, especially for world leaders.

What's happening: After a pro-Trump mob sieged the U.S. Capitol for hours Wednesday, social media platforms began taking dramatic steps to limit the president's posts, which suggested the rioters were justified. After pressure from his aides, Trump posted a video telling his supporters to "go home," but adding that he loves them and that they are "very special."

What they're saying:

Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies. We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech. But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.
We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.
— Mark Zuckerberg

What to watch: It's unclear when Facebook will lift the ban, but given its history with content moderation and account bans, it's likely the platform is still experimenting with the best way to proceed.

  • Facebook was slow to implement a post election ad ban — only to implement it, then later extend it, then amend it for Georgia races, and then change it again for Georgia races. The political ad ban nationwide still stands, while Google's has been lifted for weeks.

Go deeper: Social media platforms muzzle Trump after Capitol melee

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