Meta, the parent company behind Facebook and Instagram, announced on Wednesday that they would be reinstating former president Donald Trump's accounts "in the coming weeks," reversing a two-year ban handed down in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
"We've always believed that Americans should be able to hear from the people who want to lead the country," Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Meta, told Axios. "We don't want to stand in the way of that."
The switch-up has the potential to impact the 2024 election, as Trump regains advertising access to his tens of millions of followers across the platforms. In a response, the 2024 presidential candidate signaled he wasn't satisfied with the effort.
In response to the news, Trump appeared to blame the company's steep stock price drop on his ban and touted his own social media service, Truth Social, which he founded after losing the 2020 election.
"FACEBOOK, which has lost Billions of Dollars in value since 'deplatforming' your favorite President, me, has just announced that they are reinstating my account," Trump wrote.
"Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution! THANK YOU TO TRUTH SOCIAL FOR DOING SUCH AN INCREDIBLE JOB. YOUR GROWTH IS OUTSTANDING, AND FUTURE UNLIMITED!!!," he added.
Meta is allowing Trump to rejoin the platform under new conditions devised by its Oversight Board, including restrictions to his on-site advertising capabilities if he pushes the envelope too far.
"We just do not want-if he is to return to our services-for him to do what he did on Jan. 6, which is to use our services to delegitimize the 2024 election, much as he sought to discredit the 2020 election," Clegg said.
The platform also plans to subject Trump to increased penalties should he violate the company's terms of service again.
"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," Meta wrote in a press release.
But critics argue the adjusted policies aren't enough-and that the right-wing politician has repeatedly shown he is just as likely to spread misinformation, incite violence and subvert democracy through his online statements.
According to liberal media watchdog Media Matters, in the day preceding the attempted Jan. 6 insurrection, Facebook's top 10 highest performing posts were all comments from Trump spreading "explicit election misinformation."
"I want to be very clear: there is absolutely no justification for allowing Donald Trump back on Facebook," said Nicole Gill, co-founder of the tech-focused advocacy group Accountable Tech. "Two years ago, Meta said it would only reinstate Trump if his presence on the platform no longer carried a threat of violence. Today's decision reveals that promise for what it was: another empty publicity stunt by a company more concerned with making money than with democracy, safety, or even internal consistency."
"Today, Meta chose to put its own profits above American democracy and the real-world safety of its users," Gill added.
Meta is the last major tech holdout denying the former president access to its platform.
In November, Elon Musk reinstated Trump's Twitter, but the Florida retiree has yet to post, opting instead to share his thoughts on Truth Social.
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