(NEW YORK) — Meta announced it is allowing former President Donald Trump back on Facebook and Instagram “in the coming weeks,” ending a two-year suspension.
Trump was locked out of his accounts on Facebook and Instagram on Jan. 7. 2021, in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, over concerns that his posts were inciting violence. Facebook later said the suspension will hold for two years, at which point it would come under reassessment.
“The suspension was an extraordinary decision taken in extraordinary circumstances,” Meta President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg said in a statement Wednesday. “The normal state of affairs is that the public should be able to hear from a former President of the United States, and a declared candidate for that office again, on our platforms.”
“Now that the time period of the suspension has elapsed, the question is not whether we choose to reinstate Mr. Trump’s accounts, but whether there remain such extraordinary circumstances that extending the suspension beyond the original two-year period is justified,” the statement continued.
Clegg said Meta is instating “new guardrails,” and that Trump now faces “heightened penalties for repeat offenses.”
“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,” Clegg said.
Attorneys for Trump had recently written to executives of Meta requesting a meeting to discuss “prompt reinstatement to the platform,” according to a copy of the letter reviewed by ABC News.
The letter, which is addressed to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and two other executives, claims the ban on Trump’s account “has dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse,” and represents “a deliberate effort by a private company to silence Mr. Trump’s political voice.”
Trump, who announced a third bid for the White House last year, responded to his reinstatement in a post on his social network Truth Social
“Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting president, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution,” he said.
Trump did not indicate in the post if he intends to use Facebook or Instagram.
The former president was also permanently suspended from Twitter in the wake of the Capitol attack, with the social media site’s leadership at the time saying the ban was due to fears of further incitement of violence.
Elon Musk eventually reinstated Trump’s Twitter account in November 2022, after posting an online poll asking Twitter users if he should unban the former president.
Trump has not tweeted since being reinstated.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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