Meta to lift suspension on Donald Trump's Facebook & Instagram accounts

Trump was previously banned due to his content on the Jan. 6 insurrection on the Capitol building in U.S.

Hannah Martens | January 26, 2023, 12:16 PM

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Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced on Jan. 25 that former U.S. president Donald Trump would have his accounts on the platforms reinstated in the coming weeks.

This officially ends the two-year suspension of Trump on the social media platforms.

In a blog post, Meta said there will be "new guardrails to deter repeat offences" to accompany the end of Trump's suspension.

Banned due to his content about Jan. 6 insurrection

Trump's suspension was implemented on Jan. 7, 2021, after he praised the people involved in the Capitol insurrection in Washington D.C on Jan. 6.

Meta described the suspension as "an extraordinary decision taken in extraordinary circumstances".

The suspension was indefinite, but Meta imposed a time-bound suspension of two years from the original suspension date.

This time-bound suspension was in response to Meta's oversight board's criticism of the open-ended nature of the suspension and the lack of clear criteria for when and whether suspended accounts will be restored.

Meta stated that Trump is still subjected to their community standards but faces harsher penalties for repeat offences. The penalties will also be applied to other public figures who had their accounts reinstated from suspensions due to civil unrest.

If Trump posts content that violates Meta's community standard, the content will still be removed, and Trump will be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation.

Trump's return to social media

The reinstating of Trump's Instagram and Facebook accounts comes after Trump's Twitter account was unsuspended.

On Nov. 20, 2022, Twitter's new owner Elon Musk reinstated Trump's account after a poll that he conducted.

The suspension of his Twitter account led to Trump creating his own social media platform, Truth Social.

Trump has not tweeted anything since he got his account back, preferring to stick to Truth Social.

However, according to Reuters, being back on Facebook "will be an important tool for the 2024 campaign to reach voters", said Trump's campaign spokesman to Fox News Digital.

Trump announced that he would be running again for president in 2024.

On Truth Social, Trump commented about his reinstatement on Meta apps by posting: "Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution!"

Trump did not comment if he would begin posting again on Facebook and Instagram.

Meta's "guardrails"

Meta's updated protocols will limit the distribution of posts that do not violate their community standard, but pose some risk in real life.

They may temporarily restrict access to their advertising tools and remove the reshare button from offending posts.

Meta stated that social media is "rooted in the belief that open debate and the free flow of ideas are important values".

They believe that its users should hear what their politicians say, "the good, the bad and the ugly", so that they can make informed choices.

"We default to letting people speak, even when what they have to say is distasteful or factually wrong."

"We know that any decision we make on this issue will be fiercely criticised... But a decision had to be made, so we have tried to make it as best we can in a way that is consistent with our values," Meta said.

Top photo via Unsplash and Pixabay