Former President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts have been restored, social media giant Meta announced on Wednesday – just over two years after he was suspended from the platforms for inflammatory messages during the January 6 riot in Capitol.
Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, said Trump’s accounts will be reinstated “in the coming weeks” and come with “new safeguards in place to deter repeat offending.”
These safeguards will include “increased penalties for repeat offenses — penalties that will apply to other public figures whose accounts are reinstated following civil unrest-related suspensions under our updated protocol. fired and he will be suspended between one month and two years, depending on the seriousness of the offence,” Clegg said on the company’s website.
A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The move comes weeks after Facebook gave itself a deadline to reassess the 2021 decision, and weeks after Republicans — many of whom criticized Facebook’s decision — regained control of the House of Representatives.
Then-Minority Leader – and now Speaker of the House – Kevin McCarthy vowed to “check the power of big tech over our speech” after Facebook announced the length of Trump’s 2021 suspension.
Trump’s presidential campaign formally asked the social media giant to allow Trump to return to the platform earlier this month.
“We believe the banning of President Trump’s Facebook account has significantly distorted and inhibited public discourse,” Trump’s campaign wrote in its Jan. 17 letter to Meta, according to a copy of the letter reviewed by NBC News.
A Trump adviser, who spoke to NBC earlier this month on condition of anonymity, said the former president’s campaign was ready to turn to his allies in the House to put pressure on Facebook if necessary.
“If Facebook wants to have this fight, fine, but the House is leverage, and keeping Trump off of Facebook just looks political,” the adviser said.
Facebook announced in June 2021 that it was banning Trump from Facebook and Instagram until at least January 2023 for a “serious violation of our rules” stemming from his role in the Jan. 6 riot.
The accounts were first suspended after Trump offered warm words to rioters in a pair of messages while asking them to go home, calling them “very special” and “great patriots”.
“These are the things and events that happen when a landslide sacred election victory is so brutally stripped of great patriots who have been treated unfairly for so long. Go home with love in peace. Remember this day forever!” he said in one of the posts.
The ban was originally meant to last 24 hours, but was extended until the end of his term by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who said “the risks of allowing the president to continue using our service during this time are just too big. ”
“Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete,” Zuckerberg wrote.
The company’s quasi-independent oversight board later said the site did the right thing by banning Trump, but also found it inappropriately strayed from its normal sanctions when it made the ban indefinite.
Clegg later announced that the ban would last until at least January of that year.
“At the end of this period, we will turn to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has diminished. We will assess external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly, and other markers of civil unrest. If we determine there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a specified period and continue to reassess until that risk has subsided,” he said in June 2021.