Facebook and Instagram will restore former President Donald Trump’s accounts about two years after he was banned, parent company Meta announced on Wednesday.
“We will be reinstating Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks,” Nick Clegg, president of global affairs for Meta, said in a blog post. “However, we are doing so with new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.”
Those 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. 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,” Clegg wrote.
Trump has not yet issued a public comment about the reinstatement. But Trump’s 2024 campaign officially petitioned Facebook to allow him back on the platform, which he often used for fundraising.
“We believe that the ban on President Trump’s account on Facebook has dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse,” Trump’s campaign wrote on Jan. 17 to Meta, according to multiple news reports.
With the lifted suspension, it will allow Trump to run advertisements on both Instagram and Facebook. The former president had amassed tens of millions of followers on both platforms.
“We just do not want—if he is to return to our services—for him to do what he did on January 6, which is to use our services to delegitimize the 2024 election, much as he sought to discredit the 2020 election,” Clegg told Axios.
The accounts, Clegg added, will not be restored right away. Meta’s engineers have to figure out a way to restrict certain posts or advertising capabilities, if it is needed in the future, he said.
“If he now posts further violating content, that content will be removed, of course, and he could be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation,” he said.
Whether Trump uses the account is another question. After Twitter owner Elon Musk reinstated Trump’s account last year, the former president has said he will remain on Truth Social, his own social media website.
The former president has not signaled whether he will come back to Twitter, a platform that he used with devastating effectiveness—namely in the leadup to the 2016 election. Since his account was reinstated, Trump hasn’t posted once.
“Sadly, Facebook has been doing very poorly since they took me off,” Trump wrote on Truth Social earlier this month. “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!”
When Trump was banned in January 2021, Facebook said it would last indefinitely. Months later, Facebook’s oversight board opted to decide in January 2023 on whether to lift the suspension.
Two Democratic lawmakers, in a letter to Meta last month, urged the company not to reinstate the former commander-in-chief’s accounts. They said that his claims about the 2020 election are why it should remain banned.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a longtime foe of Trump who has been accused of spreading lies about the former president while he was the chair of the House Intelligence panel, wrote that “it is essential that your company maintain its platform ban on former president Trump.”
“Based on Meta’s own statement on standards for allowing Trump back on the platform, his account should continue to be restricted,” they wrote.
But Trump and other Republicans say that Facebook’s and Twitter’s move to ban Trump smacks of censorship, while free speech advocates say it set a dangerous precedent. Even some world leaders, including former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, expressed alarm at the bans when they were handed down two years ago.
“I read the statement of the owner of Face[book], and I felt a lot of arrogance. Talking about their norms, so what? What about freedom? Or the right to information? What about the role of the lawfully constituted authority?” Lopez Obrador said at the time.
Trump officially launched his 2024 presidential bid on Nov. 15, becoming the first Republican to do so.
From The Epoch Times