New York, Jan 25 (EFE).- US tech giant Meta announced Wednesday that in the coming weeks it will reinstate the accounts of former President Donald Trump on Facebook and Instagram, accounts that it suspended after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and assault on the US Capitol by a mob of his supporters.
In a statement, the firm explained that it suspended Trump’s accounts two years ago was an “extraordinary decision taken in extraordinary circumstances,” but it said that “the public should be able to hear what their politicians are saying” to be able to make informed decisions at the ballot box.
Meta said that it has now put “guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses” in its updated account policy and that Trump’s accounts are being reinstated after offenses “related to civil unrest,” meaning that if he or anyone else posts content violating the firm’s updated rules they could be suspended for between one month and two years.
In addition, Meta warned that it will monitor content with the capacity to create a similar “risk” to what occurred prior to the 2021 Capitol attack – that is, “the sort of risk that materialized on January 6th, such as content that delegitimizes an upcoming election or is related to QAnon.”
If users attempt to post such content the firm may “limit disribution” of that content or restrict such users from the company’s advertising and recommendations systems.
The company indefinitely suspended Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts after the then-president applauded those perpetrating violent attacks on the US Capitol and on law enforcement personnel on Jan. 6, 2021, but later it limited that suspension to two years after referring the matter to its Oversight Board.
In its statement, by Meta’s president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, the firm said that it had concluded that the risk to public safety “has sufficiently receded” to be able to reinstate Trump’s accounts once the two-year ban lapses, but it acknowledged that there is an important ongoing debate about the responsibility of the social networks regarding the content they host.
Clegg said in his statement that Meta believes “the public should be able to hear what their politicians are saying – the good, the bad and the ugly – so that they can make informed choices at the ballot box.” However, he said, “that does not mean there are no limits to what people can say on our platform.”
Given his previous violations, Trump will now face “heightened penalties for repeat offenses,” said the firm, noting that he could be suspended again for between one month and two years, depending on the severity of any new violation.
“In the event that Mr. Trump posts content that violates the letter of the Community Standards but, under our newsworthy content policy, we assess there is a public interest in knowing that Mr. Trump made the statement that outweighs any potential harm, we may similarly opt to restrict the distribution of such posts but leave them visible on Mr. Trump’s account,” the firm stated.
“We know that any decision we make on this issue will be fiercely criticized. Reasonable people will disagree over whether it is the right decision,” Meta said.
Trump reacted to the announcement via his own social network forum, Truth Social, by posting a message there stating that “FACEBOOK, which has lost Billions of Dollars in value since ‘deplatforming’ your favorite President, me, has just announced that they are reinstating my account. Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution!”
After the Capitol assault, Twitter also suspended Trump’s account. That social network was the one that Trump used most often and on which he had the most followers, and last November the former president was readmitted to Twitter on the order of its new owner, magnate Elon Musk, although Trump answered that he was not interested in returning.
Nevertheless, Trump’s apparent refusal to resume his activities on his old accounts contrasts with reports by Rolling Stone magazine indicating that he is planning to end his exclusivity agreement with Truth Social – which would have to be renewed in June – and return to Twitter with an eye toward his 2024 presidential campaign.