Facebook parent Meta said Wednesday it will restore former President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks, just over two years after suspending him following the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill.
“Our determination is that the risk [to public safety] it’s gone back far enough,” Meta’s president of Global Affairs Nick Clegg said in a blog post. “As such, we will reinstate Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks. However, we are doing it with new protection measures to deter recidivism.”
Trump could be banned for up to two years for violating the platform’s policies in the future, Clegg said.
With his Facebook and Instagram accounts reactivated, Trump will again gain access to huge and powerful communication and fundraising platforms just as he ramps up his third run for the White House.
The decision, which comes on the heels of a similar move by Twitter, could also further change the landscape of how a long list of smaller online platforms handle Trump’s accounts.
It was not immediately clear if Trump will take the opportunity to return to the Meta platforms. Trump’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a post on his own platform, Truth Social, Trump acknowledged Meta’s decision to reverse the suspension on his account, saying that “such a thing should never happen again to a sitting president, or anyone else who does not deserve retribution.” .
Twitter restored Trump’s account in November after billionaire Elon Musk took it over, but the former president has yet to tweet again, instead opting to remain on Truth Social.
But the Trump campaign earlier this month sent a letter to Meta asking the company to unlock his Facebook account, a source familiar with the letter told CNN, making his return more likely. Although Twitter was always Trump’s platform of choice, he has a massive reach on Facebook and Instagram — 34 million followers and 23 million followers, respectively, before his reinstatement. Previous Trump campaigns have praised the effectiveness of Facebook’s targeted advertising tools and have spent millions running Facebook ads.
The company made the landmark decision to ban Trump from posting to Facebook and Instagram the day after the January 6 attack, in which his supporters stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to overturn the election results. of 2020.
Many other platforms followed suit in quick succession, but Facebook was clear that it planned to review the decision at a later date. After Facebook’s independent Oversight Board recommended that the company clarify what was initially an indefinite suspension, Facebook said the former chairman would remain restricted on the platform until at least January 7, 2023.
Earlier this month, Meta was considering restoring Trump’s accounts with the help of an internal company task force specially made up of leaders from different parts of the organization, a person familiar with the deliberations told CNN. The group included representatives from the company’s public policy, communications, content policy, and security and integrity teams, and was led by Clegg, who previously served as UK deputy prime minister.
The company said in June 2021 that it would “seek experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has diminished” in January 2023 to make a determination on the former president’s account. “If we determine that a serious risk to public safety still exists, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to reassess until that risk has abated,” said Clegg, then Meta’s vice president of global affairs. he said in a statement at the time.
Clegg said in his Wednesday post that the company believes “the public should be able to hear what their politicians are saying, the good, the bad and the ugly, so they can make informed decisions at the polls.” But, he said, “that doesn’t mean there aren’t limits to what people can say on our platform.”
In light of his past violations, Trump will now face “tougher penalties for repeat offenses,” Clegg said, adding that the policy will also apply to other public figures whose accounts are reinstated following suspensions related to civil unrest.
“Should Mr. Trump post further infringing content, the content will be removed and suspended for anywhere from one month to two years, depending on the severity of the infringement,” Clegg said. However, the possibility of permanent deletion of Trump’s accounts, which Clegg had previously indicated it could be a consequence of future violations if your account was restored, it doesn’t seem to be on the table anymore.
–CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan and Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.