Facebook on Friday suspended former US President Donald Trump's account for two years, reported Reuters. The company's independent oversight board has upheld its block on Trump, which was enforced in the wake of the January 6 violence at the U.S. Capitol over concerns that his posts were inciting violence.
However, the social media giant's board ruled it was wrong to make the ban indefinite and gave it six months to determine a "proportionate response." Meanwhile, Trump will be suspended from its platform until at least January 2023.
The decision comes hours after it was reported that Facebook is planning to end special treatment for politicians and elected officials.
According to a report in The Verge, the change in its policies related to politicians and leaders is set to be announced soon.
"Facebook plans to end its controversial policy that mostly shields politicians from the content moderation rules that apply to other users, a sharp reversal that could have global ramifications for how elected officials use the social network," the report said on Thursday.
The company also plans to reveal the system of strikes it gives accounts for breaking its content rules. "That will include letting users know when they've received a strike for violating its rules that could lead to suspension," the report noted.
The company's rationale for the policy held that the speech of political leaders is inherently newsworthy and in the public interest even if it is offensive, bullying or otherwise controversial.
Facebook has had a general "newsworthiness exemption" since 2016. But it garnered attention in 2019 when Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs and communications, announced that speech from politicians will be treated as "newsworthy content that should, as a general rule, be seen and heard."
The newsworthiness exemption, he explained in a blog post at the time, meant that if "someone makes a statement or shares a post which breaks our community standards we will still allow it on our platform if we believe the public interest in seeing it outweighs the risk of harm."
However, when Facebook suspended Trump in January, it cited "the risk of further incitement of violence" following the deadly riots at the US Capitol as the reason.
(With IANS and PTI inputs)