Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram are re-instating former U.S. President Donald Trump’s account over two years after his initial suspension.
However, the company warned that if Trump violates Meta’s content policies again, his accounts will face additional suspensions, ranging from one month to two years, “depending on the severity of the violation.”
In the same blog post, Meta also updated its policies to address content that does not explicitly violate its rules but may encourage violent or harmful behaviour, similar to the January 6th, 2021, attack on the Capitol, which led to Trump’s ban. At the time, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that Trump was suspended for inciting violence and praising the actions of the rioters.
“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,” wrote Meta.
Additionally, if such content is found, Meta would be able to remove the re-share button from said posts and will stop them from being recommended to users.
Ending Suspension of Trump’s Accounts With New Guardrails to Deter Repeat Offenses https://t.co/M6U6MIoEl2
— Meta Newsroom (@MetaNewsroom) January 25, 2023
Meta’s reason behind the unban is that the initial two-year suspension time has lapsed. Further, the unban relates to Trump running for the 2024 presidential elections. “As a general rule, we don’t want to get in the way of open, public and democratic debate on Meta’s platforms — especially in the context of elections in democratic societies like the United States. The public should be able to hear what their politicians are saying — the good, the bad and the ugly — so that they can make informed choices at the ballot box,” wrote the company.
Throughout Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns, his team spent millions on Meta platform ads alone, so the unban might be beneficial for Meta too, considering that it is trying to report a profit amid the brutal tumbling of tech company valuations.
It’s worth noting that the former president’s account hasn’t been reinstated yet. According to Meta, it “will be reinstating Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks.”
Image credit: Shutterstock