As former President Donald Trump continues to ramp up his 2024 campaign for the Oval Office, he just received news of a significant victory, namely, that tech giant Meta has decided to reinstate his accounts on social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, as NBC News reports.
Trump’s accounts on both sites were suspended just over two years ago following the Jan. 6, 2021 unrest at the U.S. Capitol, but in the wake of Meta’s adherence to a self-declared review process, word came last week that the former president would have the ability to return to the platforms if he so chooses.
The news of Trump’s reinstatement came Wednesday via a statement issued by Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs.
Clegg said, “We will be ending the suspension of Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks,” adding that the company has “put new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.”
The Meta executive explained the sort of enhanced scrutiny under which the former commander in chief will be under if he does return to the platforms, saying, “[L]ike any other Facebook or Instagram user, Mr. Trump is subject to our Community Standards. In light of his violations, he now 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.”
Clegg added, “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.”
During a conversation with NBC News’ Hallie Jackson, Clegg noted that the decision to end Trump’s suspension was evidence of the company’s attempts to strike a balance when it comes to imposing restrictions on user speech.
Clegg stated, “We’re not trying to kind of, you know, censor everything that everyone says in an open and free democracy. We think that open and free debate on the rough and tumble of democratic debate should play out on Facebook and Instagram as much as anywhere else.”
In Meta’s aforementioned official statement on the move, Clegg said, “Social media is rooted in the belief that open debate and the free flow of ideas are important values, especially at the time when they are under threat in many places around the world.”
The statement added, “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.”
Never one to miss a chance to hold forth on a controversial topic, Trump took to his own Truth Social platform to provide a strongly worded reaction to Meta’s decision on his account status.
“FACEBOOK, which has lost Billions of Dollars in value since ‘deplatforming’ your favorite President, me, has just announced that they are reinstating my account,” Trump began.
Referencing the company’s initial decision to boot him from both platforms back in 2021, Trump continued, “Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution.”
It remains to be seen whether Trump has any intention of returning to Instagram or Facebook in the coming weeks, but considering that this weekend, his campaign hit the road for stops in the key primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina, it may prove difficult to resist making use of the platforms that offered him such huge – and indeed successful – reach in years past as the 2024 race heats up.