CALIFORNIA (AFP) – Two years after he was barred because of the 2021 US Capitol uprising, social media juggernaut Meta stated on Tuesday that it would shortly reinstate former president Donald Trump‘s accounts on Facebook and Instagram with “new guardrails.“
According to a statement from Meta‘s president of global relations, Nick Clegg, “we will be reinstating Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks,” with “additional guardrails in place to avoid repeat breaches.”
The Republican leader, who has already declared himself a candidate for president in 2024, may now face a suspension of up to two years for each infraction of the platform rules, according to Clegg.
Trump’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment, so it was unclear when or if he would return to the platforms.
The 76-year-old business tycoon, though, replied in his customary brash manner, boasting that Facebook had lost “billions of dollars in value” while he was away.
“Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution!” he said on his Truth Social platform.
A day after the 6 January 2021 rebellion, when a crowd of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol in Washington to prevent the certification of his election loss to Joe Biden, Facebook banned Trump.
The former reality TV star had fabricated for weeks that the presidential election had been rigged against him; as a result, he was impeached for instigating the unrest.
Trump’s attorney Scott Gast said last week that Meta had “dramatically distorted and limited the public conversation” in a letter asking for the ban to be lifted.
He requested a meeting to talk about Trump’s “rapid reinstatement to the platform” of Facebook, where he had 34 million followers, claiming that the ban should be lifted because he was the front-runner for the Republican nomination in 2024.
Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, praised Meta for making “the right decision” to reinstate Trump on the social network.
“Like it or not, President Trump is one of the country’s leading political figures and the public has a strong interest in hearing his speech,” said Romero in a press statement.
“Indeed, some of Trump’s most offensive social media posts ended up being critical evidence in lawsuits filed against him and his administration.”
According to Romero, the ACLU has brought more than 400 lawsuits against the controversial tycoon.