After a two-year suspension, Trump will rejoin Facebook’s Meta platform.
The suspension was described by the US social media juggernaut as a “exceptional choice taken in unusual circumstances.”
Former US President Donald Trump’s two-year ban on Facebook and Instagram is being lifted, according to the social media behemoth Meta.
Trump would be permitted to return to Meta’s platforms “in the coming weeks,” the company said in a statement, calling the suspension “an unprecedented decision taken in extraordinary circumstances.”
According to Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Meta, “social media is rooted in the concept that open discourse and the free exchange of ideas are fundamental principles, especially at a time when they are under attack in many parts of the world.”
The ban was initially put into effect on January 7, 2021, the day after supporters of Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol in an effort to obstruct the certification of the 2020 presidential election, which the Republican had lost to Democrat Joe Biden.
In one of his final Facebook posts before being suspended, Trump repeated the lie that the election had been tainted by fraud in order to spread misinformation about the results.
Additionally, he criticized Mike Pence, his vice president in charge of overseeing the vote certification, from the podium.
Mike Pence “lacked the fortitude to do what should have been done to preserve our Country and our Constitution, providing States an opportunity to certify a revised set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were requested to certify previously,” Trump wrote at the time.
In its ruling on Wednesday, Meta stated that it had been seeking to “evaluate whether the substantial risk to public safety that existed in January 2021 has sufficiently diminished,” and had found that it had. Nevertheless, Meta stated that it will “install new guardrails to discourage repeat crimes.”
The list of them includes “heightened sanctions” for repeat violators, along with additional suspensions that may run for a month to two years.
Additionally, it committed to restricting the dissemination of materials that could “add to the sort of risk that materialised on January 6” during the Capitol attack, noting material that “delegitimizes a future election”. When violations occur often, Meta “may temporarily restrict access to our advertising tools.”
Other public personalities “whose accounts are reactivated after suspensions due to social upheaval” would also be subject to same sanctions, according to the business.
The business has been under fire for not taking stronger action to suppress hate speech, false material, and other infractions of its content policies. For instance, Rohingya refugees sued Facebook’s owner in 2021 over the social media platform’s claimed role in encouraging violence against the ethnic community in Myanmar.
Recently, Meta declared that it would remove “material that promotes or praises” the January 8 government building storming in Brazil, which was another instance of far-right sympathizers trying to steal an election.
This attack has frequently been contrasted with the US Capitol riot in 2021.
The highest levels of government throughout the world, however, have resolutely opposed Meta’s efforts to limit posts that involve false information, violence, and other content that may break platform regulations.
Prominent US Republicans as well as individuals like former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte have criticized Meta for removing contentious accounts and materials. After being kicked off of Meta and other social media platforms, Trump started his own social media business, Truth Social.
“Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anyone else who is not deserving of vengeance,” he wrote in a post on his Truth Social account on Wednesday in reference to his reinstatement to Facebook and Instagram.
In a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, earlier this month, the former president’s attorneys asked for his reinstatement. Trump declared in November that he would like to run for president again in 2024.
In the same month, Trump’s account on Twitter was restored by its new owner, Elon Musk, following an online vote on whether to do so.