Meta has announced it is reinstating former president Donald Trump’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram after a two-year suspension over his alleged role in praising the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Nick Clegg, the company’s president of global affairs, wrote in a blog post that Trump’s accounts would be reinstated in the coming weeks but that the former president will face “heightened penalties” if he breaks the social media giant’s content rules.
“The public should be able to hear what their politicians are saying – the good, the bad and the ugly – so that they can make informed choices at the ballot box,” Clegg wrote. “But that does not mean there are no limits to what people can say on our platform.”
According to The Washington Post, The announcement follows a formal request from a lawyer for Donald Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign to allow him to return to the platform, arguing that a two-year ban in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack has “dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse.”
Meta’s reinstatement — along with Twitter’s decision in November to lift a permanent ban against Trump — means the former president once again has the ability to reclaim the spotlight using two of the most pivotal social media platforms in the world ahead of a presidential election in which he is a declared candidate.
Being reinstated to Facebook means Trump will be able to resume fundraising for his presidential campaign. While Trump’s primary political action committee, Save America, has been spending money on Facebook ads, his own page has been frozen.
Meta suspended Trump’s accounts on Jan. 7, 2021, following his praise and encouragement of rioters who stormed the Capitol in an attack that left several dead and many more injured. The company then shortened the suspension to two years and said it would reassess whether it was safe enough to restore his account when that period was over.
Clegg said Wednesday that Meta had to evaluate whether there were still “extraordinary circumstances” that justified the company extending his suspension. After evaluating the “current environment” including risks surrounding the 2022 midterm elections, the company determined expanding the suspension was no longer necessary, Clegg said.
“Our determination is that the risk has sufficiently receded and that we should therefore adhere to the two-year timeline we set out,” Clegg wrote. “As such, we will be reinstating Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks.”
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