Meta will reinstate Donald Trump on Facebook and Instagram “in the coming weeks”, in a polarizing move that will give a key platform back to the former US president ahead of his bid for the White House in 2024.
Trump, whose use of social media helped him secure the presidency in 2016, has been suspended from Meta’s platforms for the past two years for inciting violence, after praising a group of his supporters who stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
However, the social media company said he could now return and that it had put “new barriers in place to deter repeat offences”, according to its president of global affairs Nick Clegg, who oversaw the decision.
“The public should be able to hear what politicians are saying so they can make informed choices,” Clegg added.
It is unclear if and when Trump, who has launched his own rival social media platform, Truth Social, will return to the platform. His account on Meta competitor Twitter was reinstated in November by its new owner Elon Musk, but the former president has yet to post anything on that platform.
Clegg said that if Trump posted further infringing content, he would be suspended for “between one month and two years, depending on the seriousness of the breach”.
He added that Meta had evaluated the current environment, including “looking at the conduct of the 2022 US midterm elections and expert assessments of the current security environment” to assess whether the risk to public safety had abated since Trump’s first suspension.
“Our decision is that the risk has subsided sufficiently and that we should therefore adhere to the two-year timeline that we have set out,” he said.