Donald Trump will not be making a triumphant return to Facebook and Instagram anytime soon. Facebook announced Friday that Trump’s ban will last until at least January 2023. At that point, the company says, it will reassess whether to let the former president back onto its platform.
The social media giant blocked Trump from posting to Facebook and Instagram indefinitely on January 7, after he used the platform to incite the January 6 US Capitol insurrection. It then referred that decision to its new Oversight Board, a panel of independent human rights experts, to decide Trump’s fate on the platform. But last month, the Oversight Board tossed the decision back to Facebook.
“At the end of this period, we will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs, wrote in announcing the company’s decision. “We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest. If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk has receded.”
Pushing Trump’s possible return to January 2023 means that the former president will not be able to post to Facebook or Instagram during the 2022 midterm election cycle, likely blunting his ability to influence those elections.