Meta Will Reinstate Donald Trump on Facebook and Instagram
January 26, 2023
First it was Elon Musk’s Twitter that allowed Donald Trump to return to its platform in November. Now Meta, which controls both Facebook and Instagram, announced on Wednesday that they would reinstate Trump’s accounts.
It’s been two years since Meta had kicked the former president off its social media sites; in fact, it was on January 7, 2021 — the day after the Capitol riots — that they suspended him for a two-year period. YouTube and Twitter followed shortly thereafter.
However, Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, announced the change of heart, but with caveats:
“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. But that does not mean there are no limits to what people can say on our platform.”
Plus, the permission will not be immediate. The company said that Trump will “in the coming weeks” be able to access his former account at Facebook, which at the time was the most popular account with hundreds of millions of followers.
The question now is: will Trump return? After all, he has been allowed back on Twitter since November, and has already amassed nearly 88 million followers. However, he has yet to tweet — believe it or not.
In addition, Trump started his own social media network, Truth Social — in which he has a financial stake — and he is bound to follow their rules. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Trump must limit his posts to Truth Social exclusively for six hours before sharing them elsewhere.
However, if his posts involve political messaging, fund-raising, or get-out-the-vote initiatives, then it’s a different story. In that case he can post to any site immediately.
Moreover, Trump has less than 5M followers at Truth Social, while he had over 35M at Facebook and over 24M at Instagram. Plus, he used Facebook extensively to raise campaign bucks in his previous campaigns. Trump is running for president again, and last week his campaign reportedly asked Meta to reinstate him.
So do you think Trump will jump at the Meta invitation to return? You bet he will if there’s campaign money to rake in. Remember this is the guy who launched a series of Superhero NFT trading cards — featuring himself as the Superhero, of course. He made a cool $5 M+ overnight.
What can one say? The guy is shameless, especially when it comes to publicity and money.
Donald Trump, however, will have to follow some rules that Meta recently set down. During times of civil unrest, the platform can restrict the account of any public figure who violates their standards. This restriction can last from one month to two years. Plus, in August the company introduced a “crisis policy protocol” that considers risks of imminent harm, and Trump will be subject to it.
As Nick Clegg told Axios:
“If he now posts further violating content, that content will be removed, of course, and he could be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation.”
If Trump makes any reference to QAnon conspiracies, Meta may not necessarily trigger a suspension; however, such posts may be restricted. Said Clegg:
“Oblique references to QAnon content, for instance … is the kind of material that — even if it’s done obliquely, and doesn’t violate our community standards — we would seek to restrict the distribution of the content and/or restrict his ability to advertise.”
We may be seeing a more subdued Trump return to Facebook in a few weeks. Or not.
As you might guess, reaction to Trump being allowed to return to Facebook was sharply divided.
Take, for example, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). On Tuesday, he learned that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy denied him a seat on the House Intelligence Committee. Then on Wednesday he learned that his nemesis Trump could be returning to Facebook.
These were not his happiest of days.
Trump incited an insurrection. And tried to stop the peaceful transfer of power.
He’s shown no remorse. No contrition.
Giving him back access to a social media platform to spread his lies and demagoguery is dangerous.@facebook caved, giving him a platform to do more harm.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 25, 2023
Media Matters was apoplectic, writing:
“Meta’s decision is a green light for Trump to promote harmful content on its platforms …”
Its president, Angelo Carusone, felt the need to issue a statement, which concluded with a dire warning:
“But for Facebook and Instagram’s users and major brands, the lesson is simple: Meta’s containment strategy will fail – and your brand, your feed, and frankly your country will be worse off for it.”
They sound kind of upset over at Media Matters.
Among the MAGA crowd, Red State was giddy, tweeting:
“Meta to Reinstate Trump to Instagram and Facebook, ‘the Internet’s About to Get a Lot More Fun'”
In addition, Fox News’ business host Charles Payne tweeted:
Don't look now but former President Trump is riding high in polls over all GOP rivals and edging our President Biden.
And he's reinstated on Facebook & Instagram.
— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) January 25, 2023
Yeah, well, don’t hold your breath. There’s a long time between now and primary season, and no one else has declared yet, either.
And as for Trump himself? Well, he took to Truth Social to bash Facebook, shouting in CAPS, in case anyone missed his point:
“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! THANK YOU TO TRUTH SOCIAL FOR DOING SUCH AN INCREDIBLE JOB. YOUR GROWTH IS OUTSTANDING, AND FUTURE UNLIMITED!!!”
You’d think he’d be happy. But that’s Trump for you.
Surprisingly, the progressive American Civil Liberties Union thinks so. Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said it was the “right call,” as Trump is a leading political figure:
“While the government cannot force platforms to carry certain speech, that doesn’t mean the largest platforms should engage in political censorship.”
That’s how I see it. I’m not a MAGA acolyte. As a conservative Republican, I believe that my party can do much better than Donald Trump, as I wrote in November.
But if other candidates are given the opportunity to express themselves and raise money on Meta platforms, so should Donald Trump. Political speech shouldn’t be restricted, even if a bunch of people despise the speaker.
Featured image: Tibor Janosi Mozes/Pixabay.
Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!
The various social media empires allow posts from places like Iran. They have no cause to complain about Trump’s presence.
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