Jan 25 (Reuters) – Meta Platforms Inc
Restoring his accounts could give a boost to Trump, who announced in November that he would run for the White House again in 2024. He has 34 million followers on Facebook and 23 million on Instagram, platforms that are key vehicles for political advocacy and fundraising.
Its Twitter account was restored in November by new owner Elon Musk, although Trump has yet to post there.
Free speech advocates say it’s appropriate for the public to have access to political candidates’ posts, but critics at Meta have accused the company of lax moderation policies.
Meta said in a blog post on Wednesday that it had “implemented new safeguards to deter repeat offenses.”
“In the event that Mr. Trump posts further violating content, the content will be removed and suspended for one month to two years, depending on the severity of the violation,” wrote Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Meta, in the blog post.
The decision, while widely expected, drew strong rebukes from civil rights advocates. “Facebook has policies but they don’t enforce them,” said Laura Murphy, an attorney who led a two-year audit of Facebook that concluded in 2020. Trump poses: Facebook was too slow to act.”
The Anti-Defamation League, NAACP, Free Press and other groups also expressed concern Wednesday about Facebook’s ability to prevent any future attacks on the democratic process, with Trump still repeating his false claim that he won the election. 2020 presidential election.
Others said it was the right decision.
Jameel Jaffer, executive director of Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute and former ACLU official, defended reinstatement. He had previously endorsed the company’s decision to suspend Trump’s account.
“The public has an interest in hearing directly from candidates for political office,” Jaffer said. “It’s better if the major social media platforms err on the side of leaving the speech, even if the speech is offensive or false, so that it can be addressed by other users and other institutions.”
The decision to ban Trump has been polarizing for Meta, the world’s largest social media company, which, prior to Trump’s suspension, had never blocked the account of a sitting head of state for violating its content rules.
The company revoked Trump’s access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely after he deleted two of his posts during the Capitol Hill violence, including a video in which he reiterated his false claim of widespread voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election.
It then referred the matter to its independent oversight board, which ruled that the suspension was warranted but that its indefinite nature was not. In response, Meta said he would reverse the suspension two years after it began.
Meta’s blog post on Wednesday suggested it may reactivate other suspended accounts, including those penalized for involvement in civil unrest. The company said these reinstated accounts would be subject to stricter scrutiny and penalties for violations.
It’s unclear if and how Trump will seize the opportunity to return to Facebook and Instagram.
Trump has sent no new tweets since regaining his account on Twitter, saying he would rather stick to his own Truth Social app. But his campaign spokesperson told Fox News Digital last week that being back on Facebook “will be an important tool for the 2024 campaign to reach voters.”
In an article on Truth Social, Trump responded to his reinstatement on the Meta apps by saying, “Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting president, or anyone else who doesn’t deserve retaliation!” He did not say if or when he would start posting on Meta platforms again.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat who previously chaired the House Intelligence Committee, criticized the decision to reinstate him.
“Trump incited insurrection,” Schiff wrote on Twitter. “Giving him back access to a social media platform to spread his lies and grandstanding is dangerous.”
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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