Meta to Restore Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram Accounts


Jan 25 (Reuters) – Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) said on Wednesday it will reinstate former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks after a two-year suspension after the deadly riot in the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The restoration of his accounts could give a boost to Trump, who announced in November that he will make another bid for the White House in 2024. He has 34 million followers on Facebook and 23 million on Instagram, platforms that are important vehicles for political outreach and advocacy. of funds.

Its Twitter account was restored in November by new owner Elon Musk, although Trump has yet to post there.

Free speech advocates say it’s appropriate for the public to have access to messages from political candidates, but Meta’s critics have accused the company of lax moderation policies.

Meta said in a blog post on Wednesday that it had “put in new guardrails to prevent recidivism”.

“Should Mr. Trump post further infringing content, the content will be removed and he will be suspended for a period of one month to two years, depending on the severity of the violation,” wrote Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Meta, in the blog post. blog.

The decision, while widely expected, drew severe rebukes from civil rights advocates. “Facebook has policies, but they enforce them poorly,” said Laura Murphy, a lawyer who led a two-year audit of Facebook completed in 2020. “It’s been too slow to act.”

The Anti-Defamation League, NAACP, Free Press and other groups also expressed concern on Wednesday about Facebook’s ability to thwart future attacks on the democratic process, with Trump still repeating his false claim that he won the 2020 presidential election.

Others said it was the right decision.

Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and a former employee of the ACLU, advocated reinstatement. He had previously endorsed the company’s decision to suspend Trump’s account.

“The public is interested in hearing directly from candidates for political office,” said Jaffer. “Major social media platforms better make the mistake of not speaking out, even if the speech is offensive or false, so that it can be addressed by other users and other institutions.”


The decision to ban Trump was polarizing for Meta, the world’s largest social media company, which before Trump’s suspension had never blocked the account of a sitting head of state for violating its content rules.

The company indefinitely revoked Trump’s access to its Facebook and Instagram accounts after removing two of his posts during the violence on Capitol Hill, including a video in which he reiterated his false claim of widespread voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election.

It then referred the case to its independent supervisory board, which ruled that the suspension was justified but its indeterminate nature was not. In response, Meta said it would revisit the suspension two years after it began.

Meta’s blog post on Wednesday suggested that it may reactivate other suspended accounts, including those penalized for involvement in civil unrest. The company said those reinstated accounts would be subject to stricter review and penalties for violations.

It is unclear if and how Trump will seize the opportunity to return to Facebook and Instagram.

Trump has not sent any new tweets since he revived his Twitter account, saying he prefers to keep his own Truth Social app. But his campaign spokesperson told Fox News Digital last week that returning to Facebook “will be an important tool for the 2024 campaign to reach voters.”

In a post on Truth Social, Trump responded to his reinstatement on the Meta apps, saying, “Such a thing should never happen again to a sitting president or anyone else who doesn’t deserve retribution!” He did not indicate if or when he would resume posting on Meta platforms.

Representative Adam Schiff, a Democrat who previously chaired the House Intelligence Committee, criticized the decision to reinstate him.

“Trump incited an insurrection,” Schiff wrote on Twitter. “Giving him access to a social media platform to spread his lies and demagoguery is dangerous.”

Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas and Katie Paul in Palo Alto; Additional reporting by Greg Bensinger, David Shepardson, Kanishka Singh, Eva Mathews and Yuvraj Malik; Editing by Kenneth Li and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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