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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 January 2021

US ELECTIONS

Facebook says threat to US democracy led to ban on Donald Trump

The platform has not followed Twitter in revoking Mr Trump’s access permanently

US President Donald Trump’s Facebook account was suspended because of the threat to US democracy, the social media giant’s chief operating officer said.

Sheryl Sandberg said there was no plan to lift the indefinite block on the departing president, which will last at least until his successor, Joe Biden, is inaugurated next week.

The move to stop Mr Trump posting on Facebook followed the US Capitol storming by his supporters last week, after his numerous, unfounded claims of electoral fraud.

But some accused social media networks of restricting freedom of speech.

“We have clearly established principles that say you cannot call for violence,” Ms Sandberg said at the Reuters Next conference.

She said posts that appeared to be doing so were taken down immediately.

“In this moment, the risk to our democracy was too big,” Ms Sandberg said.

“We felt we had to take the unprecedented step of what is an indefinite ban. And I’m glad we did.”

Facebook has not followed Twitter in closing Mr Trump’s account, but said it has no plans to lift the suspension soon.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said there were no plans to lift the platform's suspension of Donald Trump’s account. Reuters
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said there were no plans to lift the platform's suspension of Donald Trump’s account. Reuters

Ms Sandberg said the platform had clamped down on posts, such as those linked to the far-right group QAnon, that called for violence in the lead-up to the protests that preceded the storming of the Capitol.

She said many events were organised on social media platforms that did not have the same level of regulation as Facebook.

Updated: January 12, 2021 04:03 PM

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