Facebook parent Meta will reinstate former President Donald Trump after keeping him off the platform for two years, the company announced Wednesday.
‘As a general rule, we don’t want to get in the way of open, public and democratic debate on Meta’s platforms – especially in the context of elections in democratic societies like the United States,’ Nick Clegg, the company’s president of global affairs, wrote in a blog post on the move.
‘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,’ he wrote.
The move comes two months after Trump announced he was running for reelection in 2024, although his campaign has been low-key to date, fought mostly online. He had been kicked off the platform for violating its rules on incitement of violence.
Donald Trump can get back on Facebook, Meta announced
The move comes after Twitter CEO Elon Musk lifted the site’s Trump suspension, imposed after the Capitol riot, although Trump has yet to use the platform.
It promises to have an impact on the 2024 presidential campaign. Trump has extensive followings across social media, but has been posting on his own Truth Social site – and he has not backed off his repeated claims of a ‘stolen’ election, despite a litany of suits by his supporters being tossed out of court and Congress meeting to count the votes certified by states before and after the Capitol riot.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google all blocked Trump following his election overturn effort.
Facebook doesn’t fact check the claims by political candidates, and competitor Twitter has been slashing moderation staff amid firings and purges instituted by Musk.
Trump attacked Facebook in a post on his Truth Social platform. He is seeking reelection, but has been running a low key campaign. His online posts have not had the same reach as his Twitter and Facebook presence in his heyday
The company statement came from exec Nick Clegg, not from company president Mark Zuckerberg
Trump has the ability to post on Twitter and Facebook now that he has launched a reelection campaign. He continues to repeat claims of a ‘stolen’ election, despite states certifying Joe Biden’s win
‘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,’ according to the company.
Clegg, the former deputy prime minister of the U.K., said the move ‘does not mean there are no limits to what people can say on our platform.’
‘When there is a clear risk of real world harm — a deliberately high bar for Meta to intervene in public discourse — we act,’ he wrote.
News of the change comes as Trump is seeking new ways to engage the public. A report Wednesday has revealed that he has begun reaching out to people he knows via text.
In recent days he used online platforms to blast congressional Democrats and even send around a link to a DailyMail.com story about the Joe Biden document saga.
Trump had the most followers on Facebook when it imposed the suspension.
The ban came amid a flurry of election misinformation, in both the 2016 and the 2020 presidential elections.
The House January 6 committee explored the issue at length, though it left pages of material out of its final report.
After House Republicans took over the House, they vowed to crack down on ‘Big tech,’ which many Republicans have long argued has a bias against conservatives. The suspensions, although deemed allowable by private companies who control their own platforms, helped prompt a backlash against restrictions on speech.
House Republicans are already preparing to probe efforts to suppress information about a report about Hunter Biden’s laptop online.
Meta and other platforms are facing a tough regulatory environment. On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced it was suing Google over its dominance in online ads.
Trump issued a statement attacking Facebook and praising his own platform.
‘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! THANK YOU TO TRUTH SOCIAL FOR DOING SUCH AN INCREDIBLE JOB. YOUR GROWTH IS OUTSTANDING, AND FUTURE UNLIMITED!!!’ Trump wrote.
The company said the public risk had ‘sufficiently receded.’
Should he choose to, the new policy gives Trump a chance to try to run many of the same plays he did in his previous campaigns.
He plans to hold his first campaign rally in South Carolina in days. The platform allowed Trump to mercilessly attack his opponents, with his events carried online and sometimes on cable networks.
Tweets and other posts will allow him to both attack Biden and Democrats as well as pressure Republicans amid internecine battles over power and spending.
During Speaker McCarthy’s fight for survival, Trump issued a printed statement of support and was seen dialing lawmakers on the phone, in signs of influence over the House GOP.