Former US President Donald Trump has had his ban from Facebook extended until at least January 2023.
Trump was indefinitely suspended from its platforms after seeming to post support for the storming of the US Capitol building on January 6.
He published two posts Facebook said “incited violence” on the day of the insurrection, an incident that resulted in the deaths of five people.
The decision to lock Trump out his accounts was referred to Facebook’s semi-independent Oversight Board.
Last month, the authority upheld the decision to suspend Trump but criticised the open nature of the ban.
“It was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension,” the Oversight Board said.
Facebook was given until Friday to respond to the Board and announced that Trump would remain suspended for “two years”
“We are today announcing new enforcement protocols to be applied in exceptional cases such as this, and we are confirming the time-bound penalty consistent with those protocols which we are applying to Mr Trump’s accounts,” said Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice-president of global affairs.
“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.”
“We are suspending his accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7 this year.”
After January 2023, Trump will only be permitted to use Facebook platforms again if the “risk to public safety has receded”.
Clegg added in a blog post that Facebook would extend the ban if the risk was still “serious”.
“When the suspension is eventually lifted, there will be a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr Trump commits further violations in future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts.”
The Oversight Board said they will now examine Facebook’s response and “will offer further comment once this review is complete”.
The announcement signals a significant change in Facebook’s approach to how it treats politicians on its platforms.
Clegg said the two-year sanction for “severe violations” was long enough to deter Trump and others from violating their policies in future.
Clegg also said the extended ban was “proportionate to the gravity of the violation itself” in Trump’s case.
Facebook said they accepted the feedback from the Oversight Board that their moderation policies were too arbitrary.
“We did not have enforcement protocols in place adequate to respond to such unusual events,” said Clegg.
“Now that we have them, we hope and expect they will only be applicable in the rarest circumstances.”
Facebook has repeatedly faced criticism across the political spectrum for how it moderates the content uploaded by public figures.
Conservative voices have criticised the decisions made by social networks over freedom of speech, while opponents have condemned platforms for not taking swifter, harder action.
Twitter had already permanently banned Trump following the deadly storming of the Capitol, citing an ongoing risk of violence and incitement.
In 2020, Facebook set up the semi-independent Oversight Board to review content moderation decisions for Facebook and Instagram and make binding decisions.