Former President Trump will be allowed back on Facebook and Instagram after a two-year ban for inciting violence during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Facebook parent Meta Platforms announced Tuesday.
“The suspension was an extraordinary decision taken in extraordinary circumstances,” Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, said in a blog post. “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.”
Clegg said the risk to public safety in January 2021 had “sufficiently receded” and Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts would be reinstated in the coming weeks with “new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.”
The decision will allow Trump access to his 23.3 million Instagram and 34 million Facebook followers as he seeks a return to the White House. He announced his 2024 presidential bid in November, and his campaign formally petitioned Meta to reinstate his accounts in a letter to the company Jan. 17, according to NBC News.
Trump was initially suspended from his Facebook and Instagram accounts Jan. 6, 2021, after Meta determined Trump had made several posts encouraging a mob insurrection at the U.S. Capitol during the counting of the 2020 electoral votes. After a review, the company’s oversight board imposed a six-month deadline for lifting his suspension or making it permanent. Facebook responded by setting a two-year limit on Trump’s suspension, at which point it would “assess whether the risk to public safety has receded.”
This time around, Trump will face increased penalties for violating Facebook or Instagram’s community standards based on the company’s protocols on restricting accounts by public figures during civil unrest. Further content that violates Meta’s standards will lead to a suspension of one month to two years, depending on the severity of the violation, Clegg said.
Since his removal from Meta’s platforms, Trump has been posting extensively on Truth Social, a social media site he launched in February 2022.
“Facebook, which has lost billions of dollars in value since ‘deplatforming’ your favorite president, me, has just announced that they are reinstating my account,” he wrote Wednesday. “Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting president, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution!”
Trump was also recently reinstated to Twitter after being banned following the Jan. 6 attack, a decision made by Elon Musk via Twitter poll. He has not posted anything on the platform since his account was reactivated.
Trump’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Facebook, a powerful platform for communication and fundraising, played a major role in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. In 2020, a top executive wrote in an internal memo that Facebook’s advertising tools were responsible for Trump’s win and predicted it could bring about his reelection in 2020.
Facebook staffers embedded in the 2016 Trump campaign assisted the team with its digital operations, offering free consulting on ad strategy and targeting, according to a study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The company has said the same services were offered to Hillary Clinton‘s campaign as well as other nonpolitical clients that are big advertisers on its platform.
Separately, political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica claimed to utilize the private data of millions of Facebook users to inform the strategy for Trump’s 2016 campaign. Trump’s campaign denied using the illicitly acquired Facebook data.