Facebook currently has no plans to allow Donald Trump to regain access to his accounts, after the social giant suspended him indefinitely following the Jan. 6 deadly insurrection in the nation’s capital, COO Sheryl Sandberg said Monday.
In addition, Facebook said it has begun removing content with the phrase “stop the steal,” which has become a rallying cry among pro-Trump conspiracy theorists who refuse to accept that Joe Biden defeated President Trump in the 2020 election.
Last week, Facebook said it would freeze Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg citing the risk of ongoing violence for that decision. Trump was banned permanently by Twitter last Friday.
“Our ban’s indefinite. We’ve said at least through the transition [to the Biden administration] but we have no plans to lift it,” said Sandberg, speaking Monday via video conference at the Reuters Next conference. “This shows the president is not above the policies we have.”
Meanwhile, Facebook announced a ban on the phrase “stop the steal” from Facebook and Instagram under its Coordinating Harm policy.
“We’ve been allowing robust conversations related to the election outcome and that will continue,” VP of integrity Guy Rosen and VP of global policy management Monika Bickert wrote in a blog post. “But with continued attempts to organize events against the outcome of the US presidential election that can lead to violence, and use of the term [‘stop the steal’] by those involved in Wednesday’s violence in D.C., we’re taking this additional step in the lead up to the inauguration.”
Facebook said the company has already removed a “significant number of posts” that included “stop the steal,” although the execs said, “It may take some time to scale up our enforcement of this new step.”
Facebook also has temporarily suspended all political and election-related ads in the U.S., including those from Trump.
Facebook said that after Inauguration Day (Jan. 20), it will label posts that attempt to “delegitimize the election” with information that reflects that Biden is the sitting U.S. president. Since Biden was announced as the projected winner in November, Facebook has appended labels with links to authoritative information to dozens of Trump’s posts baselessly alleging election fraud or voting irregularities.
“We began preparing for Inauguration Day last year. But our planning took on new urgency after last week’s violence in Washington, D.C., and we are treating the next two weeks as a major civic event,” Rosen and Bickert wrote. “We’re taking additional steps and using the same teams and technologies we used during the general election to stop misinformation and content that could incite further violence during these next few weeks.”