Donald Trump is back on Facebook, Instagram after 2 years
Two years after he was suspended, Meta has restored Donald Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts. The tech giant suspended him from its platforms in the wake of the Capitol Hill insurrection on January 6, 2021. Last month, Meta had said that it would reinstate Trump's accounts in a few weeks. The former US president or his camp has not yet commented on Meta's decision.
Why does this story matter?
Meta's move to revoke Trump's Facebook and Instagram suspension comes at a crucial time for the real estate mogul-turned-politician. His third bid for the presidency has failed to attract the kind of attention he would have liked so far. Therefore, being back on two of the biggest social media platforms will be key for voter outreach and fundraising.
Meta called Trump's suspension an 'extraordinary decision in extraordinary circumstances'
Meta had set a two-year limit for Trump's suspension after the Oversight Board criticized its "indefinite" length in 2021. In January, Nick Clegg, the company's president of global affairs, called Trump's suspension an "extraordinary decision in extraordinary circumstances." He added that normally the public should be able to hear from a former president and "a declared candidate for the office again."
Meta has placed new guard rails to prevent a repeat
Meta did not restore Trump's accounts soon after its announcement because it wanted to place "new guardrails to prevent repeat offenses." According to the company's new policy on dealing with public figures during civil unrest, the former president will face stricter penalties in case of repeat offenses. Meta can suspend Trump for one month to two years based on the severity of the offense.
It may limit distribution of content that causes violent behavior
During the Capitol Hill riots, several posts on Facebook and Instagram did not explicitly violate Meta's policies but led to violent or harmful behavior. The company has a new approach to such posts now. Last month, the tech giant said it may limit the distribution of such posts. It can also stop accounts from accessing advertising tools.
Why was Trump suspended from Facebook and Instagram?
A mob forcefully entered the Capitol Building in Washington on January 6, 2021. US senators were meeting at that time to certify Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election. The next day, Meta restricted Trump's access to Facebook and Instagram. At that time, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post that Trump was suspended for provoking violence and condoning the rioters' actions.