Parent company Meta says it is adding 'new guardrails' to ensure no 'repeat offenders' violate rules
Facebook parent Meta is reinstating Donald Trump's personal account after a two-year suspension following the Jan. 6 insurrection.
The company said in a blog post Wednesday it is adding "new guardrails" to ensure there are no "repeat offenders" who violate its rules.
"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," wrote Nick Clegg, Meta's vice-president of global affairs.
He said that when there is a "clear risk" of real-world harm, Meta will intervene.
"In the event that Mr. Trump posts further violating content, the content will be removed and he will be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation," he wrote.
Facebook suspended Trump on Jan. 7, 2021, for praising people engaged in violent acts at the Capitol a day earlier. But the company had resisted earlier calls — including from its own employees — to remove Trump's account.
Trump blasts Facebook from his own site
Facebook is not only the world's largest social media site, but had been a crucial source of fundraising revenue for Trump's campaigns, which spent millions of dollars on the company's ads in 2016 and 2020.
The move, which comes as Trump is ramping up his third run for the White House, will not only allow Trump to communicate directly with his 34 million followers — dramatically more than the 4.8 million who currently follow him on his own site, Truth Social — but will also allow him to resume direct fundraising.
During the suspension, his supporters were able to raise money for him, but couldn't run ads directly from him or in his voice.
Trump, in a post on his own social media network, blasted Facebook's decision to suspend his account as he praised his own site, Truth Social.
"FACEBOOK, which has lost Billions of Dollars in value since "deplatforming" your favorite President, me, has just announced that they are reinstating my account. Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution!" he wrote.
He was suspended on Jan. 7, a day after the deadly 2021 insurrection. Other social media companies also kicked him off their platforms, though he was recently reinstated on Twitter after Elon Musk took over the company. He has not tweeted since being reinstated.
Civil rights groups and others were quick to denounce Meta's move.
"Letting Trump back on Facebook sends a signal to other figures with large online audiences that they may break the rules without lasting consequences," said Heidi Beirich, founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism and a member of a group called the Real Facebook Oversight Board that has criticized the platform's efforts.
"I am not surprised but it is a disaster," Beirich said. "Facebook created loopholes for Trump that he went right through. He incited an insurrection on Facebook. And now he's back."
Clegg said that in light of his previous violations, Trump now faces heightened penalties for repeat offences. Such penalties "will apply to other public figures whose accounts are reinstated from suspensions related to civil unrest under our updated protocol."
If Trump — or anyone else — posts material that doesn't violate Facebook's rules but is otherwise harmful and could lead to events such as the Jan. 6 insurrection, Meta says it will not remove it but will limit its reach. This includes praising the QAnon conspiracy theory or trying to delegitimize an upcoming election.
Meta said Trump's accounts will be restored in the coming weeks on Facebook and on Instagram.
Banned from mainstream social media, Trump has been relying on his own, much smaller site, Truth Social, which he launched after being blocked from Twitter.
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