Meta ends Donald Trump’s suspension on Facebook and Instagram, allowing the former president to start posting again as he eyes a return to the White House through the 2024 election.
Trump was suspended indefinitely from social media sites shortly after the January 2021 Capitol riots.
Access to its accounts will be opened “in the coming weeks,” Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, said in a statement released on Wednesday.
Clegg wrote that Meta’s Trump ban “was an extraordinary decision made under extraordinary circumstances” and that the decision to ban him “was made following his praise for people involved in acts of violence on January 6, 2021 in the Capitol.” were involved”.
The Meta executive said the company’s action was referred to the Oversight Board at the time – a body set up by Meta to provide independent scrutiny and weighing of its decision-making.
“The board upheld the decision, but criticized the indefinite nature of the suspension and the lack of clear criteria for when and if suspended accounts will be restored, directing us to review the matter to find a more appropriate response,” Clegg wrote.
Meta then imposed a two-year ban on Trump’s account, beginning January 7, 2021, when the original ban was imposed.
Clegg continued, “Now that the period of suspension has passed, the question is not whether we choose to restore Mr. Trump’s accounts, but whether exceptional circumstances persist that warrant an extension of the suspension beyond the original one period of two years is justified. ”
After reviewing his decision, Clegg said Meta believed that the risk to public safety at the time of the ban had sufficiently diminished “and that we should therefore adhere to the two-year deadline that we had set,” adding that the Accounts that do so would be reinstated “with new guard rails to deter repeat offenders.”
He said that like other users of Facebook and Instagram, Trump is subject to community standards, but that given his violations, he “also now faces increased penalties for repeat violations — penalties that apply to other public figures whose accounts are recovered from.” Suspensions related to civil unrest under our updated protocol.”
Clegg said that if Trump continues to share infringing content, “the content will be removed and banned for anywhere from one month to two years, depending on the severity of the violation.”
The Executive wrote: “As a general rule, we do not wish to stand in the way of open, public, and democratic debate on Meta’s platforms — particularly in the context of elections in democratic societies such as the United States. The public should be able to hear what their politicians are saying – the good, the bad and the ugly – so they can make informed decisions at the ballot box.”
Trump was suspended from Twitter around the same time he was kicked off Facebook and Instagram. But shortly after Elon Musk took over the company in October, Trump was allowed to return to the platform. However, he has yet to tweet.
With tens of millions of followers on each of the platforms, Trump will be pleased that Meta and Twitter have paved the way for him to quickly and easily reach large numbers of voters again as he launches his bid to replace Joe Biden as US President . However, whether he can keep himself on the right side of the platforms’ terms of service remains to be seen.