Facebook’s decision to suspend former President Donald Trump for at least two years received an angry reaction, with many saying that the social media giant should follow Twitter’s lead and make the ban permanent.
A politics professor at the University of Virginia, Larry Sabato, wrote: “The ban should be permanent. Trump’s January 6th coup attempt demands a lifetime suspension.”
President and CEO of Media Matters for America Angelo Carusone tweeted: “Mark Zuckerberg explicitly acknowledged that Trump used Facebook ‘to incite a violent insurrection’. And yet, that doesn’t rise to the level of permanent removal apparently. So you gotta wonder ... what would?”
The former president was suspended from all platforms controlled by Facebook after the 6 January riot when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election win.
Mr Trump’s account will remain suspended until 7 January 2023. Facebook has said that he will only get his account back if the “risk to public safety has receded”.
The co-founder of the Democratic Coalition, Scott Dworkin, wrote that the ban is “not good enough. We demand it be permanent”.
Jeremy Pelofsky tweeted: “So, just after the second anniversary of the insurrection – Facebook will consider giving him a platform back to spew vitriol, hatred and incite violence once again, despite five people dead, hundreds wounded, mental health issues for thousands from 1/6/21. Got it.”
Many noted that if Mr Trump regains control of his account in January 2023, it would be perfect timing for him to use it to influence the 2024 Republican presidential primary.
One Twitter user wrote that the timeline was perfect to give the account back “if the GOP wins Congress in 2022 and threaten Facebook with regulations”.
Another praised the decision, writing: “I can’t believe that Facebook has reached a good decision. I guess change is possible.”
CNN commentator Keith Boykin said it was “sad that someone can incite an attack on the United States Capitol and Facebook has to be the one to hold them accountable instead of the United States Congress”.
Republican Arizona Rep Andy Biggs slammed the platform, tweeting: “Facebook is banning Trump for two years, but still allows the Ayatollah to have an account even though he calls for eradicating Jews, the destruction of Israel, and is a denier of the Holocaust. Unreal.”
Media Matters fellow Matthew Gertz tweeted that Facebook has “created an escape hatch – if Republicans take back Congress and have committee gavels in January, the company can offer up Trump’s reinstated account as a peace offering/tribute”.
“Facebook only bans Trump for 2 years? He’s STILL spreading his lies about election fraud, undermining the integrity of our elections. You suck, Facebook,” one Twitter user added.
NBC News reporter Ben Collins said that Facebook is “a private company that doesn’t want to be associated first and foremost with dictators and authoritarians using it to drum up violence in fear of the other”.
Mr Trump quickly sent out a statement about the decision. He included the baseless claim that the 2020 election was rigged.
He said: “Facebook’s ruling is an insult to the record-setting 75 million people, plus many others, who voted for us in the 2020 Rigged Presidential Election. 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!”
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies