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Facebook VP: Trump’s Two-Year Suspension Is ‘Justified’

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A man opens the Facebook page on his computer in Abuja, Nigeria, March 19, 2020. (Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters)

Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, on Sunday defended the platform’s decision to maintain former President Donald Trump’s suspension until January 2023, saying the move was “justified.”

“We understand that making a decision like this is controversial, it’s shouted out, if you like, from both sides, from those people who feel that Donald Trump should be back on the platform immediately and from those who say he should be banned forever. It receives criticism from all sides,” Clegg said during an appearance on ABC’s This Week.

Facebook announced on Friday that it would uphold its ban against Trump — imposed shortly after the January 6 Capitol riot — for two years, at which point it will re-evaluate whether restoring Trump’s account poses a “risk to public safety.”

On Sunday, Clegg claimed the decision was not based on taking a political side and that the company aimed to take action “in a way that’s fair, transparent, proportionate in line with our rules and, crucially, is responsive to the comments and criticism that Facebook received when we first suspended Donald Trump from Facebook.”

On January 7, one day after the Capitol riot, the company kicked Trump off of Facebook and Instagram, which it owns. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the time that Trump was suspended for using the platform “to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.” The risk of leaving him on Facebook, Zuckerberg said then, was “simply too great.”

Trump had a combined 56 million followers across Facebook and Instagram when he was banned.

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