Meta has announced that it will be ending the suspension of former US president Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. However, the company notes that it has put “guardrails” in place for his return.
Trump was suspended from both Instagram and Facebook following the 6 January 2021 US Capitol riot. Nick Clegg, President of Global Affairs at Meta, said in a Meta Newsroom post that the suspension was a result of needing to take action in “extreme and highly unusual circumstances”.
At the time, Trump was suspended indefinitely. But the company’s Oversight Board later recommended a time limit for the suspension, which was set to two years.
Clegg noted that the company believes that the risk to public safety has receded and that the suspension can now end.
“Our determination is that the risk has sufficiently receded, and that we should therefore adhere to the two-year timeline we set out. As such, we will be reinstating Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks. However, we are doing so with new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.”
What “Guardrails” Have Been Put in Place?
In terms of preventing a repeat of the behavior that resulted in the suspension, Meta will be approaching Trump’s account differently. The company says it believes that the public should be able to hear what politicians say so that they can make informed choices.
But as a result of previous violations of Community Standards, Trump will be subject to the rules just like any other users, according to Meta.
“In light of his violations, he now also faces heightened penalties for repeat offenses—penalties which will apply to other public figures whose accounts are reinstated from suspensions related to civil unrest under our updated protocol. In the event that Mr. Trump posts further violating 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.”
This means that Trump’s return to the platform isn’t necessarily permanent and will depend on his conduct. He may also face restrictions for posting content that delegitimizes elections or relates to QAnon.
The end of his ban will come with ample time for the run-up to the 2024 US presidential election. Twitter also restored Trump’s account in November 2022, meaning he will be able to reach potential voters on multiple platforms, not only the Trump-owned Truth Social.
Trump to Return to Facebook and Instagram
It’s unlikely that Trump will continue to snub other platforms in light of the return of his accounts. While he will still likely post to Truth Social, his millions of followers on other platforms will want to hear from him during the upcoming elections.