Meta to restore Trump's Facebook, Instagram accounts

Meta to restore Trump's Facebook, Instagram accounts

Meta Platforms will restore former US President Donald Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks, following a two-year suspension after the deadly Capitol Hill riot on January 6, 2021.

In November, Trump announced that he would make another run for the White House in 2024. Trump has 34 million followers on Facebook and 23 million followers on Instagram, platforms that are key for political outreach and fundraising.

In a blog post, Nick Clegg, Meta's president of global affairs, said that he put new guardrails in place to prevent repeat offences. In the event that Mr Trump posts further violating content, the content will be removed and he will be suspended for a period of one month and two years.

The decision to ban Trump was polarising for Meta, the world's biggest social media company that prior to the Trump suspension had never blocked the account of a sitting head of state for violating its content rules.

After removing two of his posts during Capitol Hill violence, the company permanently revoked Trump's access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts, including a video in which he stated his false claim of voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election.

It then referred the case to its independent oversight board, which ruled that the suspension was justified, but its indeterminate nature was not. In response, Meta said it would revisit the suspension two years after it began.

Meta's blog post Wednesday suggested that it could reactivate other suspended accounts, including those penalised for their involvement in civil unrest. The company said that those reinstated accounts would be subject to more stringent review and penalties for violations.

It is not known whether or not Trump will take advantage of the opportunity to return to Facebook and Instagram.

In November he regained access to Twitter, his once-favoured online megaphone. Since he has regained his account, Trump has not sent any new tweets, saying he would prefer to stick with his own app, Truth Social. He did not indicate when or when he would start posting on Meta platforms.

Representative Adam Schiff, a Democrat who previously chaired the House Intelligence Committee, criticised the decision to reinstate him.

Schiff wrote on Twitter that Trump incited an insurrection.