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Facebook and Instagram will restore Donald Trump’s account

Profile photo: Former U.S. President Donald Trump's photo and Facebook logo.
Profile photo: Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s photo and Facebook logo.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump will be allowed to use Facebook and Instagram again in the near future. Meta, the parent company of the two platforms, said on Wednesday (Jan. 1) that it would lift the ban imposed two years ago after Trump used the platforms to make false statements about the 25 elections and help rally the crowd that stormed Capitol Hill on Jan. 2020, 2021.

The company said the decision to ban Trump was based on concerns that he posed a “serious threat to public safety.” However, Meta also said they have since concluded that the risk has “receded sufficiently” enough for him to return to the platform and that his account will be restored “in the coming weeks.”

Meta said Trump has played a prominent role in American politics and it’s important for the public to hear what he has to say. But due to his history of using both platforms, his behavior on these platforms will be monitored.

“In light of his infractions, he is now also facing an aggravated penalty for repeat offenses – penalties that will also apply to other public figures, who have also been reinstated in accordance with our updated protocol for public figures in connection with the storming of Congress incidents,” Meta said in a statement. If Mr. Trump posts more offending content, it will be removed and he will be banned for a month to two years, depending on the severity of the violation. ”

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Donald Trump’s reaction

Until recently, Trump was banned from nearly every major social media platform, and he has been posting his statements on Truth Social, a platform he helped create and owned by his company.

In response to Meta’s announcement, Trump posted on Truth Social, using his usual special punctuation marks and capital letters.

“Facebook has lost billions of dollars since ‘de-platforming’ your favorite president, which is me, and they just announced that they will restore my account,” he wrote. Such a thing should never happen again to a sitting president or anyone else who should not be punished. Thanks to Truth Social for such a great job. Your growth is remarkable, and your future is limitless!!! ”

Trump has about 3400 million followers on Facebook and more than 2300 million on Instagram.

Controversial decision

Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement: “Whether people like it or not, President Trump is one of the leading political figures in the United States, and the public is interested in hearing what he has to say. ”

“In terms of our collective ability to speak online and hear what others are saying, the biggest social media companies are the core players,” Romero said. They should be more willing to allow broad political speech, even if it offends people. ”

The Anti-Defamation League, a group that fights hate speech and other forms of extremism, takes a different view. Its chief executive, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a statement that “former President Trump should not be provided with a platform to amplify his hate and violent rhetoric on mainstream social media.” ”

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“During Trump’s presidency, he used social media platforms like Facebook to spread hatred and incite violence,” Greenblatt said. The platform has lifted the ban against him, but there is no reason to believe that the former president will behave differently now. It’s not a question of free speech; Trump can use multiple platforms to spread his message. It’s a business decision and showing bias and disagreement to drive clicks and engagement, it’s that simple. ”

Extensive reassessment

Meta’s reinstatement of Trump’s account comes amid a broad reassessment in the United States and around the world about how social media should be regulated. Last October, billionaire Elon Musk bought Twitter and reinstated many accounts that had been banned, including Trump’s. The former president, who has nearly 10 million followers on the platform, has not used it since his account was reinstated.

Experts say the new ways big social media companies deal with controversial speech are part of a broader debate about how societies should organize themselves in a hyper-connected age.

Gene Policinski, a senior fellow at the First Amendment at the Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan education foundation, said: “We’re discussing how we can regulate public places in the 21st century. These are the places where we are currently gathering to discuss public issues. ”

Polanski told the media: “We are now at this inflection point, and social media has clearly gone from being a toy to a tool to a ubiquitous need. When it becomes so important to the way our society works, it may be argued that some kind of safety net should be provided for speech that people may dislike, but that does not pose an imminent threat of violence or some other criminal act. ”

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International attention

The controversy also transcends U.S. politics. Earlier this month, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement signed by dozens of international human rights experts.

The statement targeted leaders of major social media platforms, calling on them to “center their business models on human rights, racial justice, accountability, transparency, corporate social responsibility, and ethics” and reminded them that “corporate responsibility in racial justice and human rights is a core social responsibility.” ”

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