May 30, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Meta gives green light to Trump’s return to Facebook and Instagram

Meta announced on Wednesday that it will “end the lockdown” of former US President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks, two years after they were banned after the attack on Capitol Hill.

“The public needs to be able to hear what politicians are saying in order to make informed decisions,” Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of international affairs, said in a statement. “But that doesn’t mean there aren’t limits on what people can say on our platform. When there is a real risk of harm, an increased risk that justifies the Met’s intervention in public debate, then we respond,” he explained.

Trump was banned from Facebook on January 7, 2021, after he praised his supporters who stormed the Capitol the day before. Soon after, Twitter did the same. In June 2021, Facebook decided to block Trump’s access to its platform for two years. Clegg now indicated that Meta management has determined that the former president’s accounts no longer pose a major threat to public safety, and so they have been reinstated. However, due to his previous “violations”, Trump faces sanctions if he violates Meta’s terms of use again.

“Nothing like this should ever happen again to an incumbent president or anyone else who does not deserve punishment,” Donald Trump said yesterday in response to the Meta’s decision through his Truth Social account he created. He even added that Facebook lost “billions” after banning “your beloved president, me.” Trump asked to be “not shut up” before the election.

Last week, the former American president formally asked for permission to return to Facebook. His lawyer sent a letter to Meta founder and chairman Mark Zuckerberg, asking him to “keep the presidential candidate open.”

Trump’s Twitter account was restored on November 19, 2022, shortly after he announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election. However, he has not yet posted there and is limited to posting through Truth Social.

Trump now has to make a decision: Facebook has three billion users and Truth Social has only five million accounts, although active users are likely to be lower. So its effect is much smaller. However, the former president has an exclusive agreement with Truth Social whereby he is required by law to post on the platform first, six hours before he posts on another social network.

“Trump needs (Facebook) to raise donations,” Andrew Selepak, professor of media and technology at the University of Florida, recently observed. The meta made “the right decision. Whether we like it or not, Trump is one of the country’s key political figures and it’s in the public interest to hear what he has to say,” said Anthony Romero, director of the influential non-governmental organization ACLU. He noted that “some of Trump’s most shocking messages posted on social media have served as evidence against him and his administration in the context of judicial investigations.”

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