Meta announced on Wednesday that it will lift the suspension of former President Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts. The company stated that the suspension, which was imposed following the events of January 6, was a decision made under exceptional circumstances and that they will now enforce stricter guidelines for Trump's future activity on the platforms.
The company did not indicate when Trump would be able to post on its platforms, but it said it believes the potential risk to public safety that he posed has subsided. Twitter, which also suspended Trump following the Capitol riot, has also recently restored his account, however, the former president has been communicating through his own platform, Truth Social.
"We will be reinstating Mr. Trump's accounts in the upcoming weeks with specific limitations, which will apply to any public figures who have been suspended for similar violations during periods of civil unrest," a statement from Meta read.
The company defended its decision, stating that it never intended to influence the discussions surrounding the elections. They also mentioned that the decision was reviewed and approved by an oversight board. With the lifting of the suspension, Meta stated that Trump will now be subject to stricter penalties for any future violations, which will apply to other public figures whose accounts have been reinstated from suspensions related to civil unrest under the company's updated protocol.
"The penalties and possible restrictions we have implemented are intended as a deterrent," the statement read. It also warned that Trump could face another suspension, which could range from one month to two years, if he breaches the company's rules.
The company had said that Trump had praised the violent rioters at the Capitol, which justified his indefinite suspension. And that after January 6, "the risks of allowing President Trump to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great." Trump denied praising or encouraging the rioters and had in fact used Twitter to ask his supporters to leave the Capitol when the riot was ongoing.
Both Facebook and Twitter have faced criticism for suspending Trump while allowing other world leaders with records of human rights violations to continue using their platforms.
“Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting president or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution,” Trump responded to the suspension being lifted on Truth Social.
The company stated that it believes it is important for the public to have access to content from individuals like Trump, even if that content is "displeasing or factually incorrect."
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