Meta to reinstate Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts

Jan 25 (Reuters) – Meta Platforms Inc ( META.O ) said on Wednesday it will restore former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks, following a two-year suspension following the deadly riot on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, 2021 Mr.

The reinstatement of his accounts could give a boost to Trump, who announced in November that he would seek the White House again in 2024. He has 34 million followers on Facebook and 23 million on Instagram, platforms that are key vehicles for political outreach and fundraising.

His Twitter account was reinstated in November by new owner Elon Musk, although Trump has yet to post there.

Free speech advocates say it’s appropriate for the public to have access to messages from political candidates, but Meta’s critics have accused the company of lax moderation policies.

Meta said in a blog post on Wednesday that it had “installed new security fences to deter repeat violations.”

“In the event that Mr. Trump posts additional infringing content, the content will be removed and he will be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation,” wrote Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs. in the blog post.

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The decision, while widely expected, drew sharp rebuke from civil rights advocates. “Facebook has policies, but they’re not enforcing them enough,” said Laura Murphy, a lawyer who is leading a two-year audit of Facebook ending in 2020. “I worry about Facebook’s capacity to understand the real harm that Trump represents: Facebook has been too slow to act.”

The Anti-Defamation League, NAACP, Free Press and other groups also expressed concern on Wednesday about Facebook’s ability to prevent future attacks on the democratic process, with Trump still repeating his false claim to have won the 2020 presidential election.

Others said it was the right decision.

Jamil Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and a former ACLU official, defended the repeal. He previously endorsed the company’s decision to suspend Trump’s account.

“The public has an interest in hearing directly from candidates for political office,” Jaffer said. “It’s better if the big social media platforms get it wrong and leave speech, even if the speech is offensive or false, so that it can be addressed by other users and other institutions.”

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The decision to ban Trump was polarizing for Meta, the world’s largest social media company, which before Trump’s removal had never blocked an account of a sitting head of state for violating content rules.

The company indefinitely suspended Trump’s access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts after removing two of his posts during the violence on Capitol Hill, including a video in which he repeated his false claim about widespread voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election

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

Meta’s blog post on Wednesday suggested it may reactivate other suspended accounts, including those punished for their involvement in civil unrest. The company said those reinstated accounts will be subject to stricter review and penalties for violations.

It’s unclear whether or how Trump will take advantage of the opportunity to return to Facebook and Instagram.

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Trump hasn’t sent out any new tweets since reclaiming his Twitter account, saying he’d rather stick to his own app, Truth Social. But a spokesman for his campaign told Fox News Digital last week that a return to Facebook “will be an important tool for the 2024 campaign to reach voters.”

In a post on Truth Social, Trump responded to his reinstatement on Meta’s apps, saying, “This kind of thing should never happen again to a sitting president or anyone else who doesn’t deserve retribution!” He did not say whether and when will he start posting on the meta platforms again.

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

“Trump incited an uprising,” Schiff wrote on Twitter. “To give him back access to a social media platform to spread his lies and demagoguery is dangerous.”

Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas and Katie Paul in Palo Alto; additional reporting by Greg Bensinger, David Shepardson, Kanishka Singh, Eva Mathews and Yuvraj Malik; Editing by Kenneth Lee and Rosalba O’Brien

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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