Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced that it will reinstate the social media accounts of former President Donald Trump. The accounts were banned two years ago after a tweet by Trump caused deadly riots on Capitol Hill.
Analysts believe that the reinstatement will positively impact Trump’s potential campaign for the 2024 presidential elections, as he has a significant number of followers on the platforms. Trump has an estimated 34 million followers on Facebook and 23 million on Instagram, thus these platforms can be a key to his election marketing strategies.
Announcing the reinstatement, Meta said that it will “put new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.” Meta’s president, Nick Clegg wrote that “In the event that Mr. Trump posts further violating content, the content will be removed and he will be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation.”
While the reinstatement of Trump’s social accounts was heavily appreciated by his supporters, many others opposed it and criticized Meta. “I worry about Facebook’s capacity to understand the real world harm that Trump poses: Facebook has been too slow to act,” said Attorney Laura Murphy.
Jameel Jaffer, executive director at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University stated that the decision was correct. He said that “the public has an interest in hearing directly from candidates for political office. It’s better if the major social media platforms err on the side of leaving speech up, even if the speech is offensive or false, so that it can be addressed by other users and other institutions.” Overall the decision is both controversial and is being met with mixed reactions from the public.