Donald Trump Returning To Facebook

( )- Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced on Wednesday that they would be reinstating former President Donald Trump to their two social media platforms.

Trump has been suspended for the last two years from Facebook and Instagram, following posts he made following the Capitol insurrection on January 6 of 2021. He’ll now have the opportunity to return to the platforms in the next few weeks.

Back in November, Trump was reinstated by Twitter and its new owner Elon Musk, after the former president was permanently banned from the social media platform for similar reasons under the last Twitter regime.

To this point, Trump hasn’t posted anything on Twitter, though it’s expected he will begin to do so in the near future. While he started his own social media platform, Truth Social, in response to being banned from the three mainstream social media sites, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook all provide him with a huge potential audience as he is preparing his run for president in 2024.

When he was banned from the platforms, he had a combined 145.9 million followers — 34 million on Facebook, 23 million on Instagram and 88.9 million on Twitter.

Advocates for free speech have said that the public needs to have access to the messages that political candidates put out. On the other side are critics of the social media platforms who say that Meta has taken a lax attitude toward moderation.

In a blog post it published Wednesday, Nick Clegg, the president of global affairs of Meta, said the company “put new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.”

He wrote:

“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.”

It was widely expected that Meta would reinstate Trump to their two social media platforms. That didn’t stop civil rights advocacy groups from criticizing the decision.

Attorney Laura Murphy, who led a Facebook audit that lasted two years, said recently:

“Facebook has policies but they under-enforce them. I worry about Facebook’s capacity to understand the real world harm that Trump poses: Facebook has been too slow to act.”

Other groups that immediately expressed concern after Meta’s decision was revealed were the Free Press, the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League. None of those groups said they believe that Facebook has the ability to do anything to prevent attacks on the American democratic process in the future.

Still, there are plenty of people who have said that reinstating Trump was the right thing to do. The executive director of Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute, Jameel Jaffer, defended the company’s decision. When Trump was suspended from the platforms two years ago, Jaffer — who formerly worked for the ACLU — endorsed that decision.

This week, Jaffer commented:

“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.”