After a two-year suspension due to the Capitol Riots, Meta has finally reinstated controversial former president Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. Andy Stone, a representative for Meta, announced the change on Thursday (Feb. 9). As of January, Trump has 34 million Facebook fans and 23 million Instagram followers.
In January 2021, Facebook banned Trump for “praising people engaged in violent acts at the Capitol.” Regaining access to two crucial platforms will help the Republican reach more voters and raise more money for his campaign in the run-up to his 2023 reelection bid.
This social media ban removal comes with the ominous asterisk of many allied conditions in the fine print. Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs wrote on Jan. 25, 2023: “As a general rule, we don’t want to get in the way of open, public and democratic debate on Meta’s platforms — especially in the context of elections in democratic societies like the United States. 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 also stated that it has “put new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.” “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,” explained Nick. He added that a probe has determined that Mr. Trump’s accounts no longer pose a severe risk to the public’s safety.
After the platforms’ Oversight Board criticised the open-ended punishment, Mr. Trump’s received a reduction in his suspension. He called the action “an insult” to the millions of people who supported him in the 2020 presidential election at the time.