UNITED STATES: Meta Platforms Inc. said Wednesday that it would reinstate former US President Donald Trump’s Instagram and Facebook accounts in the upcoming weeks following a suspension of two years after the fatal Capitol Hill riot on January 6, 2021.
In a blog post, the social media firm said that it has “put new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.”
In the blog post, Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Meta, said, “If Mr. Trump posts more content that breaks the rules, the content will be removed, and he will be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on how bad the violation was.”
The decision to suspend Trump was polarising for Meta, the largest social media business in the world, which has never before suspended the account of a sitting head of state for breaking its content guidelines.
After taking down two of Trump’s posts from the Capitol Hill riots, including a video in which he said again that there would be a lot of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, the company cut him off from his Instagram and Facebook accounts for good.
According to a blog post published by Meta on Wednesday, other suspended accounts—including those that were punished for participating in civic unrest—may be reinstated. The business said those reinstated accounts would be subject to stricter scrutiny and harsher sanctions for infractions.
Whether and how Trump will seize the chance to return to Instagram and Facebook is still being determined.
Trump’s Twitter account was reinstated in November by its new owner, Elon Musk. Since gaining his account, Trump has not sent any tweets on the platform, saying he would prefer to continue using his own app, Truth Social.
But this Monday, a representative for his campaign said that returning to Facebook “will be an important tool for the 2024 campaign to reach voters.”
Trump commented on his reinstatement on Meta applications in a post on Truth Social, saying, “Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting president or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution!” He did not mention whether he plans to resume blogging on Meta platforms.
Proponents of free speech say that the public should be able to hear what political candidates have to say, but critics of Meta have noted that the company has loose rules for moderating.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat who used to lead the House Intelligence Committee, disagreed with the decision to bring him back.
Schiff said on Twitter that Trump “incited an insurrection” and that “giving him back access to a social media platform to spread his lies and demagoguery is dangerous.”
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