Thanks, Meta: Trump Returns To Facebook & Instagram
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Former President Donald Trump will be allowed back on Facebook and Instagram, after a ruling by their parent company Meta to reinstate his accounts after two years.
The decision was announced Wednesday (Jan. 25) in a statement posted to Meta’s website. Trump was banned from the social media platforms Jan. 7, 2021—the day after a mob of his supporters had stormed the U.S. Capitol causing a riot. That decision was made due to high concerns that his posts could run the risk of inciting more violence. Twitter and YouTube also suspended his accounts that week.
“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,” said Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs in the statement.
“But that does not mean there are no limits to what people can say on our platform.” The statement goes on to say that Trump faces sterner penalties for any future violations, which would result in another suspension of up to two years depending on how severe the infraction is.
The move comes as Twitter reinstated Trump’s account late last year after tech billionaire Elon Musk acquired the platform. American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said that the decision was “the right call” given Trump’s position as a political figure.
“While the government cannot force platforms to carry certain speech, that doesn’t mean the largest platforms should engage in political censorship,” he remarked. In a post to the right-wing social media platform Truth Social, Trump wrote that the “de-platforming” he experienced should “never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving retribution!”
But there are many more who criticized Meta’s decision, claiming that it illustrates a double standard when it comes to high-profile people. Democratic lawmakers and disinformation experts cite that Trump still presents a danger with his rhetoric, especially as he campaigns for the White House in 2024.
“The Capitol community is still picking up the pieces from the Jan. 6 insurrection that Trump ignited, and now he is returning to the virtual scene of the crime,” said Illinois congresswoman Jan Schakowsky in a statement.