Meta promises to restore Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram; will former US President return to Meta-owned platforms?

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Facebook owner Meta has said that it will restore Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts within weeks after Twitter revoked ban on the former US President.

Facebook owner

Meta President and former British Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said in a blog post, “Two years ago, Meta took action in what were extreme and highly unusual circumstances. We indefinitely suspended then-US President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following his praise for people engaged in violence at the Capitol on January 6th 2021.

“We then referred that decision to the Oversight Board – an expert body established to be an independent check and balance on our decision-making. The Board upheld the decision but criticised the open-ended nature of the suspension and the lack of clear criteria for when and whether suspended accounts will be restored, directing us to review the matter to determine a more proportionate response.”

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“Our determination is that the risk [to public safety] has sufficiently receded,” Clegg wrote.

He added, “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.”

Twitter had also restored Trump’s account on the microblogging site recently after the platform was bought by Elon Musk. But Trump has not used the platform since being allowed back.

It remains to be seen if Trump will return to Facebook and Instagram.

You can read Clegg’s blog post below:

Two years ago, Meta took action in what were extreme and highly unusual circumstances. We indefinitely suspended then-US President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following his praise for people engaged in violence at the Capitol on January 6th 2021. We then referred that decision to the Oversight Board – an expert body established to be an independent check and balance on our decision-making. The Board upheld the decision but criticised the open-ended nature of the suspension and the lack of clear criteria for when and whether suspended accounts will be restored, directing us to review the matter to determine a more proportionate response.

In response we imposed a time-bound suspension of two years – an unprecedented length of time for such a suspension. We also clarified the circumstances in which accounts of public figures could be restricted during times of civil unrest and ongoing violence, and introduced a new Crisis Policy Protocol to guide our assessment of on and off-platform risks of imminent harm so we can respond with specific policy and product actions. In our response to the Oversight Board, we also said that before making any decision on whether or not to lift Mr Trump’s suspension, we would assess whether the risk to public safety has receded.

The suspension was an extraordinary decision taken in extraordinary circumstances. The normal state of affairs is that the public should be able to hear from a former President of the United States, and a declared candidate for that office again, on our platforms. Now that the time period of the suspension has elapsed, the question is not whether we choose to reinstate Mr Trump’s accounts, but whether there remain such extraordinary circumstances that extending the suspension beyond the original two-year period is justified.

To assess whether the serious risk to public safety that existed in January 2021 has sufficiently receded, we have evaluated the current environment according to our Crisis Policy Protocol, which included looking at the conduct of the US midterm elections, and expert assessments on the current security environment. 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 offences, including heightened penalties for content that violates our Community Standards and potential restrictions on content that does not violate the rules but that contributes to the sort of risk that materialised on January 6th.