Trump’s Facebook, Instagram accounts to be reinstated

26 January 2023

Former President Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts will be reinstated in the coming weeks, according to the platforms’ parent company, Meta.

Meta handed down a two-year ban on Trump’s accounts in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, a suspension that the company called “unprecedented.”

Now it will unlock the accounts in the coming weeks, but will apply heightened penalties for future offenses of its user guidelines, according to a release from the company on Wednesday.

Meta’s President for Global Affairs Nick Clegg said on Twitter after the announcement that the company had needed to determine whether the public risk that had surfaced on Jan. 6, 2021, had receded enough to allow Trump back onto the platform. 

“Our determination is that the risk has sufficiently receded, and that we should therefore adhere to the two-year timeline we set out,” the company said.

The looming reinstatement from Facebook and Instagram comes after his Twitter account was reinstated in November after Elon Musk took over the platform. Trump has sent mixed messages about whether he will return to the platforms after communicating mainly through his own social media site, Truth Social.

He responded to Meta’s announcement Wednesday by criticizing the initial decision to suspend him.

“FACEBOOK, which has lost Billions of Dollars in value since ‘deplatforming’ your favorite President, me, has just announced that they are reinstating my account. Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution!” he wrote.

Meta said that the lifting of Trump’s ban is also coming with new guardrails to deter repeat offenders, including heightened penalties for public figures who are returning from suspension related to civil unrest.

“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,” Meta added in a statement announcing its decision.

However, Meta added that it does not mean there are “no limits” to what people can say on its platforms.

“When there is a clear risk of real world harm — a deliberately high bar for Meta to intervene in public discourse — we act,” it added.

Under the new protocols, Trump’s content could be removed and he could face another suspension of between one month and two years, according to the company.

Meta’s Oversight Board, which is the body that makes content moderation decisions on Facebook and Instagram, said in a statement after the announcement that it had no role in deciding whether to allow Trump back on the sites.

“Today’s decision to reinstate Mr. Trump on Meta’s platforms sat with Meta alone — the Board did not have a role in the decision,” the board said.

Updated at 5:34 p.m.

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