Facebook will soon decide on whether to reinstate former President Trump’s account, roughly two years after it was suspended following the January 6th Capitol riot.
The decision, to be made known in the “coming weeks,” could impact Trump’s 2024 aspirations.
Facebook to decide on Trump
Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Facebook owner Meta, and the former deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom, will oversee the decision. He has formed a special “working group” to handle the issue.
Clegg has expressed reservations in the past about the Trump ban, saying companies “should tread with great thoughtfulness when seeking to, basically, silence political voices.”
But Facebook did not show such sensitivity when it moved to silence Trump, then a sitting president, following the January 6th Capitol protest. Trump was also banned from Instagram, which is owned by Meta, and Twitter.
Facebook moved in June of 2021 to extend Trump’s ban until January 7, 2023, at least. While that date is approaching, the company now says they will have a decision “in the coming weeks.”
Will Trump return?
Democrats are already panicked over the prospect of Trump getting back on Facebook. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Ca.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Ri.) urged Meta last month to uphold Trump’s ban, saying it’s necessary to “credibly maintain a legitimate election integrity policy.”
Clegg previously warned Trump’s ban would be extended indefinitely if the company decides “there is still a serious risk to public safety” — whatever that means.
Trump was recently reinstated on Twitter following a public poll from Elon Musk, who has pledged to make free speech a priority on the platform that Trump once dominated and used to great political effect, and which Musk now owns.
Returning to Twitter would presumably give Trump’s recently declared 2024 presidential campaign a surge in momentum. However, Trump has said he has no desire to come back, opting instead to remain on his own social media site, Truth Social.
Trump’s war on Big Tech
Trump has also made his disdain for Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg clear on many occasions. He celebrated the news that Zuckerburg’s company lost $80 billion this year, something Trump attributed to his absence.
Trump’s ire toward the Big Tech giants has doubtless been amplified by the release of the Twitter Files, which have exposed the censorship machine that Democrats wielded against Trump and the Right under Twitter’s previous owners.
The files showed, among other things, that Twitter changed its rules in order to ban Trump on the pretext of “inciting violence.” Since launching his White House bid, Trump has announced a plan to crack down on social media censorship.
“The censorship cartel must be dismantled and destroyed — and it must happen immediately,” he said.