Meta will reactivate Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts

Social media giant Meta announced Wednesday that it will “end the suspension” of Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks, two years after the former US president was banned following the attack on the Capitol.

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Nick Clegg, Meta’s head of international affairs, said in a statement: “The public needs to hear what politicians have to say in order to make informed choices.”

“But that doesn’t mean there’s no limit to what people can say on our platform. When there’s a real-world risk of harm — a high risk that warrants Meta’s intervention in the public debate — we act,” he said.

The former American head of state, a 2024 presidential candidate, was expelled from the social network on January 7, 2021, while he was still in power, for encouraging his supporters during the attack on Congress in Washington the day before.

This unprecedented decision was imitated by most social networks at the time, including Twitter.

In June 2021, Facebook decided that the exemption would last for two years and that the Republican billionaire could return only when the “risks to public safety” had “disappeared”.

The suspension “should never happen again to a sitting president or anyone who doesn’t deserve sanctions!” “He responded to Donald Trump from his account on Truth Social, a social network he opened last year.

Last week, the former president officially asked to be able to return to Facebook.

His lawyer sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and president of Meta, urging him not to “silence the presidential candidate.”

Debate

The politician was readmitted to Twitter on November 19, 2022, four days after announcing his candidacy for the 2024 election. However, he has yet to post on the account, mostly communicating through his platform, TruthSocial.

Meta “made the right decision. Like it or not, Mr. Trump is one of the country’s leading political figures, and it’s in the public interest to hear what he has to say,” said Anthony Romero, director of the powerful ACLU civil rights association.

He further notes that “some of the most shocking messages posted by Trump on social media have been used as evidence against him and his administration in court proceedings.”

“This will encourage the spread of hatred and misinformation (…) It is a disastrous and irresponsible decision of Meta,” commented the “Facebook Real Supervisory Board”, a very critical association of the social network.

“We know that any decision on this matter will be fiercely criticized,” said Nick Clegg.

The world number two in online advertising is at the center of a debate between advocates of stricter content moderation to clean up platforms generally on the left of the American political spectrum – and those who accuse the big platforms of “censorship”. Against Republicans, without evidence.

” Unusual “

Nick Clegg said that removing the president from power was “an extraordinary decision taken in extraordinary circumstances”.

Meta determined that “the risk to public safety has decreased enough” to restore the president’s accounts, but new security measures have been put in place, including against repeat offenders, to prevent further violations of the two social networks’ rules.

The company had, in fact, adopted a new network of sanctions after a particularly intense American presidential campaign in 2021 on platforms and the occupation of the Capitol on the day Joe Biden’s victory was made official.

In addition to his support for his supporters that day, Donald Trump has been promoting his “Big Lie” theory for months – baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him.

“If Mr. Trump posts any infringing content again, he will be removed and suspended for a period of one month to two years, depending on the seriousness of the offense,” Nick Clegg detailed.

Thus, Meta will be able to prevent the spread of messages that do not pose a specific risk, but “undermine the legitimacy of elections.”

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