Social media giant Meta reinstated the Facebook and Instagram accounts of former President Donald Trump on Thursday.
Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts were indefinitely suspended following the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
On Jan. 25, 2023, Meta Platforms Inc. issued a statement announcing that Trump's pages would be restored in the "coming weeks."
"Social media is rooted in the belief that open debate and the free flow of ideas are important values, especially at a time when they are under threat in many places around the world," the statement began. "As a general rule, we don’t want to get in the way of open, public and democratic debate on Meta’s platforms — especially in the context of elections in democratic societies like the United States. The public should be able to hear what their politicians are saying — the good, the bad and the ugly — so that they can make informed choices at the ballot box."
Meta said the risk to public safety of Trump's social media accounts had "sufficiently receded." Meta said of Trump's reinstatement, "However, we are doing so with new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses."
Meta also declared that Trump faces "heightened penalties for repeat offenses." Punishments for violations of Community Standards range from content removal to suspensions of up to two years.
"Democracy is messy and people should be able to make their voices heard," the statement read. "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."
Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union defended Meta's decision to allow Trump back on the platform, "This is the right call. 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."
Trump's last Facebook post shared on Jan. 6, 2021, said: "I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!"
At the time of publication, Trump had yet to post on either social media platform since being reinstated.
Trump has more than 34 million followers on Facebook and over 23 million on Instagram.
In January, Trump took a shot at the social media behemoth, "Sadly, Facebook has been doing very poorly since they took me off. Whoever made that decision, and the decision to take me off, will go down in the Business Hall of Fame for two of the worst decisions in Business History!"
Elon Musk restored Trump's Twitter account in November after it was banned for nearly two years.
Trump has yet to tweet after having his Twitter account restored. Trump has been active on his own social media platform, Truth Social.
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