Facebook’s Meta Platforms announced Tuesday that former President Trump will be allowed back into Facebook and Instagram after a two-year ban for inciting violence during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
“The suspension was an extraordinary decision made in exceptional circumstances,” Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, said in a blog post. “The normal situation is that the public should be able to hear from a former President of the United States, and a declared candidate for that office again, on our platforms.”
The threat to public safety in January 2021 has “receded enough,” Clegg said, and Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts will be reinstated in the coming weeks with “new firewalls to deter repeat offences.”
The decision would allow Trump access to 23.3 million followers on Instagram and 34 million followers on Facebook as he seeks to return to the White House. He announced his 2024 presidential candidacy in November, and his campaign formally petitioned Meta to reinstate his accounts in a letter to the company on January 17, according to NBC News.
Trump was initially suspended from his Facebook and Instagram accounts on January 6, 2021, after the Meta determined that Trump had made multiple posts encouraging a mob insurrection at the US Capitol during the counting of the 2020 electoral votes. After a review, the company’s oversight board imposed a reprieve. Six months to lift the suspension or make it permanent. Facebook responded by placing a two-year limit on Trump’s comment, at which point it would “assess whether the risk to public safety has receded.”
This time, Trump will face increased penalties for violating Facebook or Instagram’s Community Standards based on the company’s protocols on restricting the accounts of public figures during civil unrest. Additional content that violates the Meta standards will result in a suspension from one month to two years, Clegg said, depending on the severity of the violation.
Since his removal from Meta platforms, Trump has been posting extensively on Truth Social, a social networking site he launched in February 2022.
“Facebook, which has lost billions of dollars in value since your favorite boss ‘knocked me off’, just announced it will reinstate my account,” he wrote on Wednesday. “Something like this should never happen again to a sitting president, or anyone else who doesn’t deserve revenge!”
Trump was also recently reinstated on Twitter after being banned in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack, a decision Elon Musk made via a Twitter poll. He hasn’t posted anything on the platform since his account was reactivated.
Trump’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Facebook, a powerful networking and fundraising platform, played a major role in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. In 2020, a senior executive wrote in an internal memo that Facebook’s advertising tools were responsible for Trump’s victory and predicted that it would lead to his re-election in 2020. .
Facebook employees who participated in Trump’s 2016 campaign helped with their digital operations, providing free advice on advertising and targeting strategy, according to a study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The company said the same services were provided to Hillary Clinton’s campaign as well as to other non-political clients of major advertisers on its platform.
Political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica has also alleged that it is using the leaked private data of millions of Facebook users to inform their strategy for the 2016 Trump campaign. The Trump campaign has denied using illegally acquired Facebook data.