In January 2023, Facebook May Unban Trump
Hard to believe, but it’s almost five months since Facebook banned Donald Trump, then still an active POTUS (though not for long). At the moment, the most influential social media in the world did not comment on any unban possibility, making it clear it wasn’t going to happen. Now it has softened its position, limiting the ban length to two years – that is, until January 7, 2023.
Is it necessarily going to happen? The answer is no, of course. The very fact of limiting the ban duration was, in fact, forced by Facebook’s Oversight Board. Nothing in the company’s rules, as well as in the user agreement, allowed banning a user for an indefinite time. Trump, they said, should have been either deleted completely or given a definite term of forced inactivity.
In fact, this decision changes nothing, as Facebook still can prolongate this ban. According to Nick Clegg, previously the UK deputy prime minister and now the head of global policy and communications, Trump is still a menace to public safety. As the period ends, Facebook is going to consult with experts who will decide whether the menace is still present.
No wonder this decision, indeed prolongating the indefinite status of suspension, is heavily criticized. It’s only up to Facebook to decide whether to end or continue the status quo, which looks a bit hypocritic. Maybe they hope the situation will get resolved by natural causes? It may take more than they expect, as Mr. Trump is just 75, and his shape seems quite great for his age.
What’s more worrying is that Facebook still hasn’t developed any sort of protocol to regulate such situations when such influential public figures are involved. In fact, Facebook reserves itself the freedom to act like it wants, with nothing granted to any other party. And this lack of established rules is probably even more worrying than how Facebook treats one Donald Trump.