Former President Trump will be allowed back on Facebook and Instagram after a two-year ban on inciting violence during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Facebook parent company Meta Platforms announced on Tuesday.
“The suspension was an extraordinary decision made under extraordinary circumstances,” said Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, in a blog post. “Normally, the public should be able to hear from a former President of the United States and a declared candidate for that office on our platforms.”
Clegg said the public safety risk had “reduced enough” in January 2021 and that Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts would be restored in the coming weeks, with “new guard rails to deter repeat offenders.”
The decision will give Trump access to his 23.3 million Instagram and 34 million Facebook followers as he seeks a return to the White House. He announced his 2024 presidential bid in November, and his campaign formally requested the restoration of his accounts with Meta in a Jan. 17 letter to the company, according to NBC News.
Trump was initially suspended from his Facebook and Instagram accounts on Jan. 6, 2021 after Meta discovered that during the 2020 election vote count, Trump made multiple posts supporting a mob riot in the US Capitol. After a review, the company’s board of directors set a six-month deadline to lift his suspension or make it permanent. Facebook responded by limiting Trump’s suspension to two years. At that point, it would “assess whether the risk to public safety has decreased.”
This time, Trump faces increased penalties for violating Facebook or Instagram’s community standards based on the company’s protocols for restricting public figures’ accounts during civil unrest. Additional content that violates Meta’s standards will result in a ban from one month to two years, depending on the severity of the violation, Clegg said.
Since his removal from Meta’s platforms, Trump has posted extensively on Truth Social, a social media site he launched in February 2022.
“Facebook, which has lost billions of dollars in value since it ‘deplatformed’ your favorite president, me, just announced they are reactivating my account,” he wrote Wednesday. “This should never happen again to an incumbent president or anyone else who doesn’t deserve retribution!”
Trump was also recently reinstated on Twitter after being banned following the Jan. 6 attack, a decision made by Elon Musk in a Twitter poll. He hasn’t posted anything on the platform since his account was reactivated.
Trump’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Facebook, a powerful communications and fundraising platform, played an important role in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. In 2020, a top executive wrote in an internal memo that Facebook’s advertising tools were responsible for Trump’s victory and predicted that his could bring about re-election in 2020.
According to a study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Facebook employees involved with the 2016 Trump campaign assisted them with their digital operations and offered free advice on advertising strategy and targeting. The company said the same campaign services were offered by Hillary Clinton, as well as other non-political clients who are major advertisers on its platform.
Policy consulting firm Cambridge Analytica also claimed to be using the leaked private data of millions of Facebook users to inform their strategy for Trump’s 2016 campaign. Trump’s campaign denied using the illegally obtained Facebook data.
https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/story/2023-01-25/trumps-facebook-instagram-accounts-reinstated-after-two-year-ban Trump’s Facebook, Instagram accounts reinstated after two-year ban