Jan 25 (Reuters) – Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) said on Wednesday it will reinstate the former U.S. president in the coming weeks after a two-year hiatus following the deadly Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots. Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Restoring his account could boost Trump, who announced in November that he would run for the White House again in 2024. He has 34 million followers on Facebook and Instagram, platforms that are important tools for political outreach and advocacy. fundraising.
His Twitter account was restored in November by new owner Elon Musk, but Trump has yet to post there.
Free speech advocates say it’s appropriate for the public to get information about political candidates, but Meta’s critics have accused the company of lax moderation policies.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Meta said it had “put in place new guardrails to deter repeat offenders”.
“If Mr. Trump posts more infractions, they will be removed and he will be suspended from office for a month to two years, depending on the severity of the infraction,” Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, wrote in a blog post. middle.
The decision, while widely expected, drew sharp condemnation from civil rights advocates. “Facebook has policies, but they’re poorly enforced,” said Laura Murphy, an attorney who led the two-year audit of Facebook that ended in 2020. “I worry about Facebook’s ability to understand the real-world harm Trump is doing: Facebook has moved too slowly.”
On Wednesday, the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, the Freedom Press and other groups also raised concerns about Facebook’s ability to deter any future attacks on the democratic process, even as Trump continued to repeat his campaign to win the 2020 presidential election. False claims.
Others say it was the right decision.
Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and a former ACLU official, defended his reinstatement. He previously supported the company’s decision to suspend Trump’s account.
“The public is interested in hearing directly from candidates for political office,” Jaffer said. “It would be better if the major social media platforms would rather leave comments, even if they are offensive or false, so that other users and other institutions can address the issue.”
The decision to ban Trump is a polarizing one for Meta, the world’s largest social media company, which had never blocked the account of a sitting head of state for violating its content rules before Trump’s suspension.
The company indefinitely revoked Trump’s access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts after it removed two of his posts during the violence on Capitol Hill, including a video in which he reiterated his 2020 False claims to voter fraud are widespread during the presidential election.
It then referred the case to its independent oversight committee, which ruled that the suspension was justified, but its uncertainty was not. In response, Meta said it would reconsider two years after the moratorium began.
Meta’s blog post on Wednesday suggested it may reactivate other suspended accounts, including those punished for their involvement in civil unrest. The reinstated accounts will be subject to greater scrutiny and penalties for violations, the company said.
It’s unclear if and how Trump will seize the opportunity to return to Facebook and Instagram.
Trump has not posted any new tweets since regaining his Twitter account, saying he would prefer to continue using his app, Truth Social. But his campaign spokesman told Fox News Digital last week that returning to Facebook “will be an important tool for the 2024 campaign to reach voters.”
In a post on Truth Social, Trump responded to his reinstatement on the Meta app, saying, “Such things should never happen again to a sitting president or anyone who does not deserve retaliation!” He did not say if or when he would start posting on Meta again.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, criticized the decision to reinstate him.
“Trump has fomented an insurrection,” Schiff tweeted. “It is dangerous to have him revisit social media platforms to spread his lies and incitement.”
Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas and Katie Paul in Palo Alto; Additional reporting by Greg Bensinger, David Shepardson, Kanishka Singh, Eva Mathews and Yuvraj Malik; Editing by Kenneth Li and Rosalba O’Brien
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