Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice-president of Global Affairs, has announced a two-year suspension of former president Donald Trump’s account on their social media platform. In doing so, he argued that Trump’s activities on the network during his attempted coup constituted a grave and severe violation of Facebook’s rules that merits the highest available penalty.
Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols. We are suspending his accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7 this year.
Imagine thinking anything otherwise.
Yet, Clegg acknowledges that this suspension will be controversial.
We know that any penalty we apply — or choose not to apply — will be controversial. There are many people who believe it was not appropriate for a private company like Facebook to suspend an outgoing President from its platform, and many others who believe Mr. Trump should have immediately been banned for life.
I think prison for life is a more appropriate punishment than a two-year suspension of his Facebook account, but I guess I’m just one side of a political debate here, right?
Let’s look a little deeper at why Facebook decided the maximum penalty was appropriate.
In establishing the two year sanction for severe violations, we considered the need for it to be long enough to allow a safe period of time after the acts of incitement, to be significant enough to be a deterrent to Mr. Trump and others from committing such severe violations in future, and to be proportionate to the gravity of the violation itself.
Okay, so there’s a deterrent factor. They want to dissuade people from using their platform to attempt coups in the future. That makes sense. But I’m more focused on the other consideration: “the need for it to be long enough to allow a safe period of time after the acts of incitement.”
Facebook is saying that it’s not safe to publish Donald Trump’s words. They’re saying it won’t be safe to publish his word in six months, 12 months or 18 months. I agree.
I don’t think 24 months is some magic number, but their board insisted there had to be some upper limit. So the hope is that after two years, people will have calmed the fuck down about the 2020 election and they won’t respond to renewed calls for establishing an American dictatorship by killing Capitol police officers.
I actually applaud Facebook for explaining things this way. It makes things pretty clear. The president is a public safety danger.
I wish everyone else would internalize this truth and treat him accordingly. I hope the Justice Department utilizes this two-year window. This isn’t a joke. This is our country.