Donald Trump returns to Facebook and Instagram as Meta makes big decision

Menlo Park, California - Former President Donald Trump is being allowed to return to Facebook and Instagram after being banned following his supporters’ 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

Former President Donald Trump is being allowed to return to Facebook and Instagram after being banned following the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack.
Former President Donald Trump is being allowed to return to Facebook and Instagram after being banned following the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack.  © Collage: Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP & EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI / AFP

His accounts will be reinstated in the "coming weeks," an executive for Meta, which runs the sites, said in a Wednesday statement.

The move comes after Twitter lifted Trump's ban under new owner Elon Musk in November, though he’s yet to tweet.

"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," wrote the company’s president of global affairs Nick Clegg.

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"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," he added.

Meta suspended Trump’s accounts on January 6, 2021, after hundreds of his loyalists attacked police and stormed the US Capitol as lawmakers met to certify the 2020 election. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said at the time that he was afraid Trump’s rhetoric would "provoke further violence."

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Meta said it was instituting new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses," including heightened penalties for offenders like Trump.
Meta said it was instituting new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses," including heightened penalties for offenders like Trump.  © Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

Meta said Wednesday it would put "new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses," including heightened penalties for offenders like Trump, who will be suspended for up to two more years if he violates company rules. Those include a prohibition on inciting violence.

Clegg said Meta has determined the menace posed by the 45th president "has sufficiently receded" since he was blocked.

"We know that any decision we make on this issue will be fiercely criticized," Clegg noted.

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It’s not clear if or when Trump – who launched his own social media platform last February – will again post on Facebook or Instagram. But he welcomed news of Meta’s decision on his Truth Social site.

"Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution!" he wrote.

Trump’s team reportedly petitioned Meta for reinstatement last week, amid his continuing preparations for the 2024 presidential elections.

Cover photo: Collage: Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP & EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI / AFP

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