Facebook parent Meta is reinstating Donald Trump’s personal account after a two-year suspension following the Jan. 6 uprising.
The company said in a blog post on Wednesday that it was adding “new safeguards” to ensure there were no “repeat offenders” who broke its rules.
“The public should be able to hear what their politicians are saying – the good, the bad and the ugly – so they can make informed choices at the ballot box,” wrote Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs at Meta.
He said when there is a “clear risk” of real-world harm, Meta will step in.
“In the event that Mr. Trump posts further infringing content, the content will be removed and he will be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on the seriousness of the violation,” he wrote.
Facebook suspended Trump on Jan. 7, 2021, for praising people who engaged in violence on Capitol Hill a day earlier. But the company had resisted previous calls — including from its own employees — to delete Trump’s account.
Trump blows up Facebook from his own site
Facebook is not only the world’s largest social media site, but has been a crucial source of campaign fundraising revenue for Trump, who spent millions on the company’s ads in 2016. and 2020.
The move, which comes as Trump begins his third run for the White House, will not only allow Trump to communicate directly with his 34 million followers — significantly more than the 4.8 million who currently follow him on his own site, Truth. Social – but will also allow him to resume direct fundraising.
During the suspension, his supporters were able to fundraise for him, but could not run ads directly from him or in his voice.
Trump, in a post on his own social media network, blasted Facebook’s decision to suspend his account as he praised his own site, Truth Social.
“FACEBOOK, which has lost billions of dollars since it ‘twisted’ your favorite president, me, just announced that it is reinstating my account. Such a thing should never happen to a sitting president again, or to anyone who doesn’t deserve retaliation!” he wrote.
He was suspended on January 7, a day after the deadly 2021 uprising. Other social media companies have also kicked him off their platforms, although he was recently reinstated on Twitter after Elon Musk took over the business. He has not tweeted since his reinstatement.
Civil rights groups and others were quick to denounce Meta’s decision.
“Letting Trump come back to Facebook sends a signal to other personalities with large online audiences that they can break the rules without lasting consequences,” said Heidi Beirich, founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism and member from a group called the Real Facebook. Oversight Board that criticized the platform’s efforts.
“I’m not surprised but it’s a disaster,” Beirich said. “Facebook created loopholes for Trump that he walked through. He instigated an insurrection on Facebook. And now he’s back.”
Clegg said that in light of his previous violations, Trump now faces stiffer penalties if he repeats himself. These sanctions “will apply to other public figures whose accounts are reinstated following civil unrest-related suspensions under our updated protocol.”
If Trump — or anyone else — posts material that doesn’t violate Facebook’s rules but is otherwise harmful and could lead to events like the Jan. 6 insurrection, Meta says he won’t. will not remove but will limit its scope. This includes praising the QAnon conspiracy theory or trying to delegitimize an upcoming election.
Meta said Trump’s accounts will be restored in the coming weeks on Facebook and Instagram.
Banned from mainstream social media, Trump has relied on his own, much smaller Truth Social site, which he launched after being blocked on Twitter.