Former President Donald Trump will be allowed back on Facebook and Instagram, but the social media giant plans to put what it calls “guardrails” on Trump’s account.
Trump was banned from the two platforms, which are part of Meta, after the Capitol incursion. Following the events of Jan 6, 2021, Twitter and Google, which owns YouTube, joined Facebook and Instagram in banning Trump on the grounds that Trump’s comments might instigate some form of unrest.
Trump’s Facebook ban was up for review this month. Trump has been allowed back on Twitter now that Elon Musk owns it.
Trump reacted to the end of his ban in a post on his Truth Social platform.
“FACEBOOK, which has lost Billions of Dollars in value since ‘deplatforming’ your favorite President, me, has just announced that they are reinstating my account. Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution! THANK YOU TO TRUTH SOCIAL FOR DOING SUCH AN INCREDIBLE JOB. YOUR GROWTH IS OUTSTANDING, AND FUTURE UNLIMITED!!!” he wrote.
Clegg’s post said the fear pervading Meta’s corporate offices in 2021 “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.”
Clegg said Trump is on social media probation, meaning that in addition to the rules for everyone else, “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,” he wrote.
Trump can be sent to Facebook limbo for “content that delegitimizes an upcoming election or is related to QAnon,” Clegg wrote.
If Trump puts a toe over the line, Facebook will take action at the level it believes corresponds to the sin.
“We may limit the distribution of such posts, and for repeated instances, may temporarily restrict access to our advertising tools. This step would mean that content would remain visible on Mr. Trump’s account but would not be distributed in people’s Feeds, even if they follow Mr. Trump. We may also remove the reshare button from such posts, and may stop them being recommended or run as ads,” he stated.
Trump’s return divided those posting on Twitter.
Trump is back on facebook??? Awesome!!!!
— “You’re not special because you’re a journalist.” (@MaceChan) January 25, 2023
To cover instances where the public interest in something Trump posts outweighs rules that would ban it, “we may similarly opt to restrict the distribution of such posts but leave them visible on Mr. Trump’s account,” he wrote.
Clegg said Meta was trying to find a middle ground, knowing it will be accused of doing wrong.
“Many people believe that companies like Meta should remove much more content than we currently do. Others argue that our current policies already make us overbearing censors. The fact is people will always say all kinds of things on the internet. We default to letting people speak, even when what they have to say is distasteful or factually wrong. Democracy is messy and people should be able to make their voices heard,” he wrote.
Clegg said that once Trump begins posting “many people will call for us to take action against his account and the content he posts, while many others will be upset if he is suspended again, or if some of his content is not distributed on our platforms.”
“We believe that the ban on President Trump’s account on Facebook has dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse,” the campaign wrote, according to a copy of the letter shared with NBC.
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