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Trump should sign contract to behave before Facebook ban lifts, says Khan

Donald Trump should be made to sign a good behaviour contract before being allowed to rejoin Facebook, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said.

September 26, 2022
By David Hughes, PA Political Editor
26 September 2022

Donald Trump should be made to sign a good behaviour contract before being allowed to rejoin Facebook, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said.

Mr Khan, who repeatedly clashed with the former president while he was in the White House, accused online firms of monetising hate by promoting harmful content.

Mr Trump’s Facebook and Instragram accounts were suspended for two years in June 2021 for posts stoking the violence ahead of the Capitol riot in Washington DC.

A major campaign to boost green investment in London
London Mayor Sadiq Khan (Yui Mok/PA)

At a fringe meeting at the Labour conference in Liverpool, Mr Khan said: “If it is the case that Donald Trump is a presidential candidate, if it is the case that he is applying to go back on Facebook, Facebook should have an agreement, a contract.”

He added: “He has got to sign up to things he is agreeing to do and not do as a term of taking part on the platform.”

But he said that even if Mr Trump was not on Facebook personally, proxies for him would still be active.

“That’s why it’s really important that Facebook, Meta (the parent company) sort their house out because what we can’t have is another US presidential election which has question marks over it because of how Facebook/Meta is abused or misused by Trump and proxies of Trump.”

At the event, organised by the Antisemitism Policy Trust, Mr Khan also set out the scale of online abuse directed at him.

From May 2016 to May 2022 he said 230,000 racist or abusive messages had been directed at him – an average of around 106 a day.

He said he was branded a “terrorist” by a passer-by while carrying out an interview recently, saying that kind of abuse in the real world had its origin online.

He also hit out at mainstream media organisations and politicians for inflaming problems, saying “it’s a trickle down tone” that filters into online abuse, and criticised the way online articles functioned as “clickbait”.

Mr Trump, he said, was “good for Facebook’s business”.

“This is why, in the absence of them regulating themselves, the Government has got to regulate companies like Facebook and Twitter and that is why the online harms Bill is so important because hate has been monetised.”

The Online Safety Bill has been paused since Liz Truss took office, with changes expected to be made to protect free speech – something which critics fear will water it down.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner highlighted the abuse targeted at MPs and the murders of Jo Cox and Sir David Amess in recent years.

“Since I’ve been an MP I’ve lost two colleagues who have been murdered doing their jobs. When David Amess was killed, the online abuse to me was ‘it’s your fault, you caused David Amess’ death’. I got death threats to myself, death threats to my children.

“It was a pretty awful time.”

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