Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, has announced that former President Donald Trump could return to the platforms in the coming weeks. This comes two years after his suspension following the 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, announced the decision. In his blog post he said that the company didn’t want to get in the way of open, public and democratic debate on its platforms.
Meta was not alone is removing Trump from their platforms as Twitter and YouTube did the same thing. The suspensions were unprecedented but while Twitter chose a permanent ban, Facebook said that it would review the temporary suspension after two years.
Clegg defended the decision to reinstate Trump’s account, stating that the suspension was an extraordinary decision taken in extraordinary circumstances. He said the question now is whether there are still such extraordinary circumstances that justifies extending the suspension beyond the original two-year period.
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He added that Meta has concluded that the risk has sufficiently receded, and that they should therefore adhere to the two-year timeline they set out.
However, Trump will be subject to “heightened penalties for repeat offenses,” under a newly updated protocol when he returns to the platform. Any violating posts will be removed and he’ll be suspended again for between a month and two years, if he fails to stick to the rules again.
The new protocol he mentioned addresses content that does not violate Meta’s Community Standards but contributes to the sort of risk that materialized on January 6th. He mentioned content that delegitimizes an upcoming election or is related to QAnon. Meta may block distribution of such posts, and limit access to Meta’s advertising tools for repeated offenders, temporarily. They could also remove the “reshare” button on posts that violate those guidelines.
The Meta exec expects criticism for the decision to reinstate Trump’s account. He claimed that they had to make the decision as a way to remain consistent with the company’s values and the process they established in response to the Oversight Board’s guidance.
It is worth noting that Trump has since moved on to Truth Social, an app he’s backed that closely resembles Twitter and is led by former California Republican congressman Devin Nunes. Even after Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, brought Trump’s account back to the platform since last year, he’s yet to resume tweeting from his account.
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