Facebook-parent company, Meta has said that it will restore former President Donald Trump’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram in the coming weeks, just over two years after suspending him in the wake of the January 6 Capitol attack.
Meta made the landmark decision to bar Trump from posting on Facebook and Instagram the day after the January 6 attack, in which his supporters stormed the US Capitol in a bid to overturn the 2020 election results.
“Our determination is that the risk [to public safety] has sufficiently receded,” Meta President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg said in a blog post on Wednesday, January 25.
“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.”
Trump could be suspended for as much as two years at a time for violating platform policies in the future, Clegg added.
With his Facebook and Instagram accounts reactivated, Trump will now have access to his huge and powerful communications and fundraising platforms just as he plans a third bid for the White House.
The decision, which comes months after he was unbanned by Twitter.
It is not immediately clear whether Trump return to the Meta platforms as he has snubbed Twitter to continue posting on his own social media platform, Truthsocial.
In a post on his own platform, Truth Social, Trump acknowledged Meta’s decision to reverse its suspension of his account and said “such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution.”
Although Twitter was always Trump’s preferred platform to share his mesages, he has a massive reach on Facebook and Instagram — 34 million followers and 23 million followers, respectively, ahead of his reinstatement. Previous Trump campaigns have lauded the effectiveness of Facebook’s targeted advertising tools and have spent millions running Facebook ads.
Reacting to the news, ACLU Director Anthony Romero called the decision “the right call,” joining several other groups in praising the move. He added: “The biggest social media companies are central actors when it comes to our collective ability to speak — and hear the speech of others — online. They should err on the side of allowing a wide range of political speech, even when it offends.”