Meta Platforms Inc has said that it will reinstate former US President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, which had been suspended following the Capitol Hill riots on January 6, 2021.
“The suspension was an extraordinary decision taken in extraordinary circumstances,” Nick Clegg, president Global Affairs, Meta said in a blog post on Wednesday.
In November 2022, 76-year-old Trump announced plans for another dash to the White House in 2024. Before his accounts got suspended, he had 34 million followers on Facebook and 23 million on Instagram.
“The public should be able to hear what politicians are saying so they can make informed choices,” Clegg said.
Clegg asserted that under its new newsworthy content policy if Meta assesses there is a public interest in knowing that Trump made a statement that outweighs any potential harm, it may opt to restrict the distribution of such posts but still leave them visible on his account.
“We default to letting people speak, even when what they have to say is distasteful or factually wrong. Democracy is messy and people should be able to make their voices heard,” Clegg wrote. “We believe it is both necessary and possible to draw a line between content that is harmful and should be removed, and content that, however distasteful or inaccurate, is part of the rough and tumble of life in a free society,” he said.
Clegg said Meta has put new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses. Facebook is not only the world's largest social media site but also a critical source of fundraising for Trump's political campaigns.
In a post on Truth Social, Trump responded by saying: “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."
Trump was reinstated by Twitter in November last year after Elon Musk took over the company.
(With PTI inputs)