recently announced that Donald Trump will be banned from Facebook and Instagram for at least two years. At that time, the company will reevaluate the risk they have determined he poses to the general public on the grounds of instigating civil unrest. Twitter has also banned Donald Trump, but their suspension is indefinite.
Regardless of our individual political differences, it is essential to take a step back and consider Facebook’s action outside of the cloud of partisan politics. This article is not intended to defend any actions of January 6th; however, Donald Trump nor his allies have faced a judge and jury related to the events of January 6th. They have not been convicted of wrongdoing related to their speech, nor have any charges been filed. Their assumption of innocence remains intact related to their First Amendment rights—which do, of note, protect political speech. In this case, Facebook has acted as prosecutor, judge, and jury, and they have unilaterally punished Donald Trump. That is within their rights as a private company. Still, with few outlets for expression outside of a small handful of social media platforms, companies like Facebook have significant control over our freedom of speech.