Trump Reinstated on Facebook and Instagram

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
February 9, 2023Science & Tech
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Trump Reinstated on Facebook and Instagram
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the New Hampshire Republican State Committee's Annual Meeting in Salem, N.H., on Jan. 28, 2023. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Meta restored former President Donald Trump’s access to Facebook and Instagram on Thursday afternoon, coming weeks after the firm announced it would do so.

A review of both of Trump’s accounts shows that both pages appeared to have been restored on Thursday. Trump has not posted content to either account.

Andy Stone, spokesperson for the big tech firm, told Reuters that Trump’s access was restored. The former president has 23 million followers on Instagram and 34 million on Facebook.

It came weeks after Meta said in a statement that his Facebook and Instagram pages would be reinstated, but it stressed would institute heightened penalties of a suspension between one month and two years if the former president violates the firm’s rules.

At the time, Meta’s President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg explained that the company no longer believes the former president’s Facebook account should be restricted. With Trump’s reinstatement, it gives him another way to fundraise for his 2024 presidential bid.

New Facebook guardrails entail “heightened penalties for repeat offenses—penalties which will apply to other public figures whose accounts are reinstated from suspensions related to civil unrest under our updated protocol,” Clegg said. “In the event that Mr. Trump posts further violating content, the content will be removed and he will be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation,” he added.

Whether Trump uses the account is another question entirely, as the former president has not indicated whether he would do so. After Meta’s announcement last month, Trump criticized the company and said it was losing revenue because it booted him from the platform two years ago.

“Sadly, Facebook has been doing very poorly since they took me off,” Trump wrote in January. “Whoever made that decision, and the decision to take me off, will go down in the Business Hall of Fame for two of the worst decisions in Business History!”

Trump was also restored on Twitter after new owner Elon Musk conducted a poll that found a majority thought the former president should return, although Trump hasn’t used it. Instead, Trump has opted to use his own Truth Social platform, where he frequently posts.

Musk has said that the January 2021 ban targeting Trump’s account a “mistake” and “morally wrong.” The ban, Musk said last year, actually “alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice.”

Meta logo
The logo of U.S. multinational technology conglomerate Meta displayed on a booth ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on May 22, 2022. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

No New Posts

As of Thursday afternoon, no new posts were made to either Trump’s Instagram or Facebook accounts. His most recent post to Instagram, dated on Jan. 5, 2021, promoted the “Save America” rally for Jan. 6 of that year.

His last post on Facebook before he was suspended called on people to leave the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

“I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order—respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!” his post stated.

ACLU Expresses Support

In a surprise move, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) defended Meta’s decision to allow former President Trump back on Facebook and Instagram, saying it is appropriate for the public to have wider access to messaging from one of the most popular political candidates in the country.

“This is the right call. Like it or not, President Trump is one of the country’s leading political figures and the public has a strong interest in hearing his speech,” wrote the ACLU, a group that has been criticized for increasingly shifting toward the left in recent years, on Twitter in response to a New York Times article about Trump’s reinstatement.

The ACLU’s executive director, Anthony Romero, said the Mark Zuckerberg-operated Meta was making a good call by having Trump return.

“Indeed, some of Trump’s most offensive social media posts ended up being critical evidence in lawsuits filed against him and his administration. And we should know—we filed over 400 legal actions against him. While the government cannot force platforms to carry certain speech, that doesn’t mean the largest platforms should engage in political censorship,” Romero said in a statement to news outlets last month.

From The Epoch Times

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