Meta has stated that it is reactivating former President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following a two-year suspension for his claimed role in cheering the rioters who stormed the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Trump’s accounts will be reactivated in the coming weeks, according to Nick Clegg, the company’s president of global affairs, but the former president will face “heightened penalties” if he violates the social media giant’s content restrictions.
“The public should be allowed to hear what their politicians are saying – the good, the terrible, and the ugly – so that they can vote with confidence,” Clegg wrote. “However, this does not mean that there are no constraints on what people can say on our platform.”
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According to The Washington Post, the announcement comes on the heels of a formal request from a lawyer for Donald Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign to allow him to return to the platform, arguing that a two-year ban imposed in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack “dramatically distorted and inhibited public discourse.”
Meta’s reinstatement, combined with Twitter’s decision in November to lift a permanent ban on Trump, means the former president can once again retake the spotlight on two of the world’s most important social media platforms ahead of a presidential election in which he is a declared contender.
With his Facebook account restored, Trump will be able to resume fundraising for his presidential campaign.
While Trump’s principal political action organization, Save America, is running Facebook ads, his personal page has been frozen.
On January 7, 2021, Meta suspended Trump’s accounts in response to his praise and encouragement of rioters who stormed the Capitol in an incident that left three people dead and many more injured.
The suspension was later reduced to two years, with the business saying it would examine whether it was safe enough to restore his account once that time period expired.
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Clegg stated on Wednesday that Meta needed to assess whether there were still “exceptional circumstances” justifying the business extending his suspension. According to Clegg, the corporation felt that expanding the suspension was no longer warranted after reviewing the “current context,” which included dangers associated with the 2022 midterm elections.
“Our determination is that the risk has sufficiently receded and that we should therefore adhere to the two-year timeline we set out,” Clegg wrote. “As such, we will be reinstating Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks.”
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