Facebook has announced that former President Donald Trump will be suspended for two years and reinstated if “conditions permit.”
In response, Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, issued this statement:
A few months ago, Mark Zuckerberg explicitly acknowledged that Donald Trump used Facebook "to incite a violent insurrection." Today, Facebook announced that it may reinstate Donald Trump’s account after a two-year suspension.
That Facebook won’t just ban Trump already is alarming. Either Facebook is refusing to take meaningful action out of fear of right-wing backlash or, worse, it is in cahoots with right-wing extremists. Facebook’s words don’t reflect its actions, and ultimately, this appears to just be part of a larger pattern of Facebook reflexively mollifying right-wing critics and enabling extremists.
The big takeaway from today’s decision is that Facebook is gearing up to reinstate Trump and in the short-term, the platform will remain a simmering cauldron of extremism, disinformation, and violence. Facebook employees take note -- now is the time to start looking for a new job so as not to enable the damage Facebook has signaled it will help cause.
Media Matters has tracked Trump’s Facebook posts and his impact on the larger public conversation for years. In an analysis of his posts between January 1, 2020, and January 6, 2021 (when he was banned from the platform), Media Matters found that Trump pushed misinformation about COVID-19 or election fraud or violent rhetoric attacking his critics in more than 1,400 separate posts -- more than a quarter of his total posts during that period -- earning 331.6 million interactions. What’s more, Facebook’s meager attempts to rein in Trump’s lies have not been effective, and in some cases -- such as with the platform’s labeling system -- they may have backfired.
Today, Media Matters, in partnership with Accountable Tech, ran a full-page ad in The New York Times along with digital ads, and mobile billboards are circling Facebook's D.C. office and Capitol Hill. The ads highlight Mark Zuckerberg's own unequivocal assertion that Trump used Facebook to “incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government” and direct people to a new microsite: KeepTrumpOffFacebook.com