SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook on Friday (Jun 4) banned former US president Donald Trump for two years, saying he deserved the maximum punishment for violating its rules over a deadly attack by his supporters on the US Capitol.
"Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr Trump's suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols," Facebook vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg said in a post.
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.
Facebook's independent oversight board in May upheld the social media giant's block on Trump, which was enforced in the wake of the Jan 6 riot at the US Capitol, because the company said his posts were inciting violence.
However, the board ruled it was wrong to make the ban indefinite and gave it six months to determine a "proportionate response."
"Facebook's ruling is an insult to the record-setting 75M people, plus many others, who voted for us in the 2020 Rigged Presidential Election," Trump said in a brief statement, renewing his false claims that last November's race was stolen from him.
"They shouldn't be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing, and ultimately, we will win. Our Country can't take this abuse anymore!"
Trump was kicked off the world's largest social media platform in January, when Facebook accused the Republican leader of stoking a deadly riot that month at the US Capitol.
Other media websites like Twitter also blocked him, but Facebook's two-year ban means the brash billionaire could be back on the platform by January 2023, early in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election.
Trump, 74, has repeatedly teased the prospect of another White House bid, despite being impeached by the House of Representatives - and acquitted by the Senate - for inciting the Jan 6 insurrection.
But in his Friday statement he directly portrayed himself as returning to the presidential mansion - one of the clearest signs yet of his ambition to return to power.
"Next time I'm in the White House there will be no more dinners, at his request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife," Trump said of Facebook's chief executive. "It will be all business!"
While Trump has flirted with a fresh election bid, New York Times political reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted Tuesday that Trump has been telling confidants that he expects to be "reinstated" by August following a series of election audits in states like Arizona and Georgia.
There is no provision in the US Constitution that allows a defeated president to be reinstated after a certified election.
Trump's core base has largely refused to believe that President Joe Biden was legitimately elected, despite a lack of evidence suggesting otherwise.