Donald Trump’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram will be restored after Meta announced the end of their two-year suspension.
The prohibition will be lifted “in the next weeks,” according to the social media giant.
According to Nick Clegg, Meta’s President of global relations, the public “should be able to hear what their leaders are saying,” according to a statement.
Following the Capitol riots in 2021, the then-US President was barred from using Facebook and Instagram indefinitely.
Meta acted in response to Mr. Trump’s “support for persons engaging in violence at the Capitol,” Mr. Clegg added.
“It was an extraordinary judgment made in extraordinary circumstances,” he added.
He stated that an assessment had concluded that Mr. Trump’s accounts no longer posed a severe risk to public safety.
However, due to Mr. Trump’s previous “violations,” he would now face harsher sanctions for any future offenses.
The decision to reinstall Mr. Trump on Meta’s platforms “sat with Meta alone – the board did not have a role in the decision,” according to the Oversight Board, a body Meta established to review moderation judgments.
The board had earlier informed Meta that Mr. Trump’s suspension should be reconsidered.
It encouraged Meta to be honest and offer further information regarding new policies affecting public figures so that their execution could be reviewed.
The Real Social
Republicans have been pushing for Mr. Trump’s return to Facebook as he prepares to compete for President of the United States again next year.
In response, Mr. Trump wrote on Wednesday on his own social media site, Truth Social, that Facebook had “lost billions” by getting rid of “your beloved president, me.”
“Such an act should never be repeated against a sitting president or anyone else who is not deserving of revenge!” he added.
Donald Trump must now make a decision.
Truth Social, his 2021 social media platform, has far fewer users than Facebook, which has three billion.
Truth Social may have up to five million accounts, but it is likely to have significantly fewer active users.
Mr. Trump, on the other hand, has an exclusivity arrangement with Truth Social, which means he is legally compelled to publish first on the site – six hours before anyone else.
It means that if he writes on Facebook or Twitter, he might be sued.
Analysts also warn that if Mr. Trump stops using Truth Social or posts information on other platforms, the site will struggle to exist.
He may just disregard the exclusivity agreement and begin releasing content right immediately.
However, this could land him in legal trouble.
It is also feasible that he will simply wait until June when the arrangement expires.
Or he could decide never to return to venues that he has continually chastised.
However, if he is going to run for President, being on Facebook – the world’s largest social media platform – makes a lot of sense.
Whatever happens next, the ball is now squarely in Mr. Trump’s court.
If he decides to return, he will have to follow Meta’s regulations. If he continues to break the rules, he will face another suspension.
It means Mr. Trump will have to (to some measure) hold his tongue on Facebook, which he does not have to do on Truth Social.
Democrats and several activist groups were quick to criticize Mr. Trump’s reinstatement, fearing that he would use the platforms to repeat false claims that he had won the 2020 election.
“Trump incited an insurgency,” California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said on Twitter. “Returning him to a social media platform to promote his lies and demagoguery is risky.”
Derrick Johnson, the President of the NAACP civil rights organization, told the Associated Press that he considered the decision a “terrible mistake” that was “a clear example of putting money above people’s safety.”
“It’s very amazing that someone can spew hatred, feed conspiracies, and instigate a violent insurgency against our nation’s Capitol building, and Mark Zuckerberg still believes it’s not enough to remove someone from his platforms,” he stated.
But the American Civil Liberties Union, a not-for-profit organization that fights civil rights in the US, stated that the judgment was the “correct move.”
Following the 6 January 2021 US Capitol riot, Twitter banned the former President, claiming he violated its rules on the glorification of violence.
However, its new owner, Elon Musk, announced in November that Mr. Trump’s account ban had been lifted following a ballot in which users narrowly supported the move.
Mr. Trump has yet to return to Twitter, having previously stated, “I don’t see any necessity for it.”