In light of his past violations, Trump now faces heightened penalties for repeat offences with suspension of up to two years.
Meta is reinstating Donald Trump’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram in the coming weeks.
Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, said that the decision has been made because the public should be able to hear what politicians are saying “so they can make informed choices”.
The former US president was indefinitely suspended from the platforms two years ago “following his praise for people engaged in violence at the Capitol” on 6 January, 2021. The decision was then referred to an independent Oversight Board – which imposed a suspension of two years.
The Oversight Board was established by Facebook as an independent entity that would review controversial content moderation or suspension decisions that the company makes. Several academics, lawyers and activists sit on the board.
The board found that Trump’s remarks “severely violated” both Facebook and Instagram’s community guidelines and that “given the seriousness of the violations and the ongoing risk of violence, Facebook was justified in suspending Mr Trump’s accounts”.
“The suspension was an extraordinary decision taken in extraordinary circumstances,” Clegg wrote in a statement yesterday (25 January).
“Now that the time period of the suspension has elapsed, the question is not whether we choose to reinstate Mr Trump’s accounts, but whether there remain such extraordinary circumstances that extending the suspension beyond the original two-year period is justified.”
Clegg clarified that despite having his account reinstated soon, Trump is subject to Meta’s community standards like any other Facebook or Instagram user and that, in light of his violations, he now also faces heightened penalties for repeat offences.
If Trump posts any further content that violates Meta’s community standards, the content will be removed and his account will be suspended for a period between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation.
“We know that any decision we make on this issue will be fiercely criticised,” Clegg added. “But a decision had to be made, so we have tried to make it as best we can in a way that is consistent with our values and the process we established in response to the Oversight Board’s guidance.”
Trump is preparing to run for the US presidency again next year. According to BBC News, Trump responded to Meta’s decision on his own platform, Truth Social, saying that Facebook had “lost billions” after banning “your favourite president, me”.
“Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting president, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution!” he wrote.
It remains to be seen if he will actually use his Facebook or Instagram accounts now. He hasn’t tweeted ever since his Twitter account was reinstated last month.
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