Facebook shows the door to Trump - GulfToday

Facebook shows the door to Trump


Donald Trump

Showing the social media to Trump is like showing a red cape to a raging bull. Websites such as Twitter and Facebook appear to be great playgrounds for a whimsical, egotistical and impulsive loose cannon such as Trump, who takes to such sites the way a duck happily takes to water.

However, there is a difference. There is something called a feelgood tweet and another that behaves like a bull in a china shop, purely damaging. Clearly, the lines seem blurred where Donald Trump is concerned. The problem with Trump is that he misused social media to undermine democratic institutions such as elections and the peaceful transfer of power. The result is there for all to see: the storming of the US Capitol by a rabid group of Trump fanatics.

Clearly, the mob frenzy was wilfully whipped up by Trump by a tool he loved to exploit: social media. Roiling the political waters and roiling his supporters seemed second nature to the former American president.

Now, he has faced the ultimate penalty: Facebook on Friday set its ban on former US president Donald Trump for two years, saying he deserved the maximum punishment for violating platform rules over attack on the US Capitol.

The two-year ban will be effective from January 7, when Trump was booted off the social media giant, and comes after Facebook’s independent oversight board said the indefinite ban imposed initially should be reviewed.

This new timeline denies Republican Trump a major social media megaphone ahead of the November 2022 congressional elections. However, it means he may be able to return to Facebook well before the next presidential election in late 2024.

Trump has been permanently banned by Twitter and remains suspended by Alphabet’s YouTube after the riot. Trump, who this week shut down his recently-launched blog, has teased plans to start his own platform.

In updating its policies, Facebook also said it will no longer give politicians blanket immunity for deceptive or abusive content at the social network based on their comments being newsworthy.

At the end of Trump’s two-year ban, Facebook will enlist experts to assess whether his activity at the social network still threatens public safety.

Trump said in a statement the ban was an “insult” to voters, renewing his false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him. Some activists criticised Facebook for even opening the door to reinstating Trump.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki, when asked about the Facebook decision, said that a social platform which is disseminating information to millions of Americans, “has a responsibility to crack down on disinformation... whether it’s about the election or even about the vaccine.”

Trump was suspended from Facebook and Instagram after posting a video during the attack by his fired-up supporters challenging his election loss, in which he told them: “We love you, you’re very special.”

As part of its new policy, Facebook will step back from its “newsworthiness” exception which allowed false information from Trump and others to circulate.

Facebook will begin publishing the “rare instances” in which offending posts are tolerated, and will not treat content posted by politicians differently from content posted by anyone else.

Trump has other things up his sleeve. That includes a plan to launch his own platform in two to three months, a March report said.

Jason Miller, a spokesman for Trump’s 2020 campaign, told the network that Trump would re-enter the social media space with a new platform of his own that would “completely redefine the game.”

Miller provided no further details, and no comment was immediately available from officials with the Trump Organisation.

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