Facebook parent company Meta said Wednesday that it will allow former US President Donald Trump to return to the social media platform in the coming weeks.
The controversial move gives Trump, who announced last year he’s running for president in 2024, another online megaphone. Facebook, Instagram and other social networks booted Trump from their platforms after the US Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021 because of fears his remarks could incite violence.
An oversight board tasked with reviewing Meta’s content decisions then upheld the suspension but said it wasn’t “appropriate” for Facebook to impose an “indefinite” suspension. The social media giant said Trump would remain suspended until at least Jan. 7, 2023. To make a decision about Trump’s account, Facebook worked with experts to determine if the threats to public safety decreased.
“Our determination is that the risk has sufficiently receded, and that we should therefore adhere to the two-year timeline we set out,” said Nick Clegg, Meta’s President of Global Affairs in a blog post. “As such, we will be reinstating Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks.” Clegg added that Meta will put in “new guardrails,” adding that Trump will face “heightened penalties for repeat offenses.”
If Trump posts content that violate the platform’s rules, Meta said it would pull down the content and he will be suspended between one month and two years. The time of the suspension depends on the severity of rule violations.
“The public should be able to hear what their politicians are saying — the good, the bad and the ugly — so that they can make informed choices at the ballot box,” Clegg said. “But that does not mean there are no limits to what people can say on our platform.”
Twitter also reinstated Trump’s account in November following billionaire Elon Musk’s takeover of the company. Trump, though, has said he plans to stay on Truth Social, a platform he helped create last year. The politician agreed to post his content on Truth Social six hours before doing so on other sites, a filing last year with the US Securities and Exchange Commission shows.
Trump’s following on Truth Social still trails behind his audience on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Trump has 87.8 million followers on Twitter compared to 4.78 million followers on Truth Social. He has 34 million followers on Facebook and 23.3 million followers on Instagram.