Meta will reinstate Donald Trump to Facebook and Instagram “in the coming weeks”, in a polarising move that will hand back a vital platform to the former US president ahead of his 2024 bid for the White House.
Trump, whose use of social media helped him secure the presidency in 2016, has been suspended from Meta’s platforms for the past two years for inciting violence, after praising a group of his supporters who stormed the US Capitol on January 6 2021.
However, the social media company said he could now return and that the company had put “new guardrails in place to deter repeat offences”, according to its president of global affairs Nick Clegg, who has overseen the decision.
“The public should be able to hear what politicians are saying so they can make informed choices,” Clegg added.
It is unclear if and when Trump, who has launched his own fledgling rival social media platform, Truth Social, will return to the platform. His account on Meta rival Twitter was reinstated in November by its new owner Elon Musk, but the former president has yet to post on that platform.
Clegg said that if Trump posted further rule-breaking content, he would be suspended for “between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation”.
He added that Meta had evaluated the current environment, including “looking at the conduct of the US 2022 midterm elections, and expert assessments on the current security environment” to assess whether the risk to public safety had receded since Trump’s initial suspension.
“Our determination is that the risk has sufficiently receded, and that we should therefore adhere to the two-year timeline we set out,” he said.