Social media giant Meta announced Wednesday that former President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts are being reinstated, over two years after he was suspended from the platforms over incendiary posts on the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Meta (which owns Facebook and Instagram) said Trump’s accounts will be reinstated “in the coming weeks … with new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.” Clegg said on the company’s website that those guardrails will include “heightened penalties for repeat offenses — penalties which will apply to other public figures whose accounts are reinstated from suspensions related to civil unrest under our updated protocol. 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.”
The move comes weeks after the timeframe Facebook gave itself to re-evaluate the 2021 decision. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy vowed to “rein in big tech power over our speech” after Facebook announced the duration of Trump’s suspension in 2021. Additionally, Trump’s presidential campaign officially petitioned Meta to allow Trump back on to the platform earlier this month, writing in a letter dated Jan. 17th: “We believe that the ban on President Trump’s account on Facebook has dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse.”
Facebook announced in June 2021 that it was banning Trump from Facebook and Instagram until at least January 2023 for a “severe violation of our rules” stemming from his role in the Jan. 6 riot. The ban was initially slated to last 24 hours, but was extended until the end of his term by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who said the “risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great … therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.” Trump was also permanently banned from Twitter at the time, but his account was reinstated on Nov. 19 by the platform’s new owner, Elon Musk. About a year after leaving office, Trump launched his own social media site called ‘Truth Social.’ Trump’s reach on Truth Social is not nearly as large as it was on the other platforms. He has slightly more than 4.8 million followers on Truth Social, compared to nearly 88 million on Twitter and 34 million on Facebook.
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