Social media giant Meta has announced that it is lifting the two-year suspension of former United States President Donald Trump from its Facebook and Instagram platforms.
Calling the suspension an “extraordinary decision made under extraordinary circumstances,” Meta issued a press release on its website on Wednesday saying it would allow Trump to return to his platforms “in the coming weeks.”
“Social media is rooted in the belief that open debate and the free flow of ideas are important values, especially at a time when they are under threat in many places around the world,” wrote Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs. rid.
The suspension was originally enacted on January 7, 2021, a day after Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election, which the Republican lost to Democrat Joe Biden.
In one of his last Facebook posts before his suspension, Trump continued to spread misinformation about the election results, repeating the falsehood that the vote was marred by fraud.
He also used the platform to denounce his vice president, Mike Pence, who oversaw the vote tallying.
“Mike Pence did not have the courage to do what needed to be done to protect our country and our Constitution, giving states the opportunity to confirm a correct set of facts, not the false or inaccurate ones they were previously asked to confirm,” Trump wrote at the time. .
In Wednesday’s decision, the Meta said it intended to “assess whether the serious risk to public safety that existed in January 2021 has sufficiently decreased,” finding that it had.
Despite this, Meta said they would install “new safety fences to prevent repeat offences”. These include “enhanced sentences” for repeat offenders, with further suspensions that can last from one month to two years.
He also pledged to limit the distribution of posts that could contribute to “the kind of risk that materialized on January 6,” during the attack on the Capitol, citing content that “delegitimizes the upcoming election.”
Meta also “may temporarily limit access to our advertising tools” in case of repeat violations. The company said those penalties would also apply to “other public figures whose accounts were reactivated following suspensions related to civil unrest.”
The company has faced criticism for not doing more to censor hate speech, misinformation and other violations of its content policies. For example, in 2021, Rohingya refugees filed a lawsuit against the owner of Facebook for its alleged role in promoting violence against the ethnic group in Myanmar.
Meta recently announced that it would remove “content that supports or praises” the attack on government buildings in Brazil on January 8 this year, in another incident of far-right supporters trying to overturn the election. The attack has been widely compared to the 2021 US Capitol riot.
But Meta’s attempts to limit posts containing misinformation, violence and other messages that could violate the platform’s rules have been met with fierce opposition from the highest levels of government around the world.
Figures such as former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte condemned Meta’s removal of controversial reports and material, as did prominent American Republicans.
Trump started his own social media company, Truth Social, after being removed from Meta and other social media companies.
On Wednesday, he posted on his Truth Social account about his reinstatement on Facebook and Instagram, saying, “Such a thing should never happen again to the current president or anyone else who doesn’t deserve retribution!”
Earlier this month, the former president’s lawyers sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s chief executive officer, demanding his reinstatement. Trump announced in November that he plans to run for a second presidential term in 2024.
That same month, Trump was reinstated on social media platform Twitter after new owner Elon Musk held an online poll on whether the former president should be reinstated.