Former Republican President may be allowed on social media again ahead of 2024 presidential election.
Donald Trump has never been so close to returning to mainstream social networks.
The former Republican President, who was banned from Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Twitter after the events of January 6, 2021, on Capitol Hill may return to some of those influential platforms ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
Facebook, which now calls itself Meta Platforms (META) – Get Meta Platforms Inc. Report, could lift the suspension affecting the accounts of the real estate magnate.
“When you make a decision that affects the public realm, you need to act with great caution,” Nick Clegg, vice-president of global affairs for Meta, said in an event organized by upcoming media startup Semafor in Washington D.C. “You shouldn’t throw your weight about,” he told Semafor editor-at-large Steve Clemons.
The decision will be taken before January 7, 2023 when the suspension of Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts is scheduled to expire. Facebook will consult with experts before deciding, Clegg said.
“If we think there is is content on our platform which will lead to real-world harm — physical harm — then we feel we have a clear responsibility to act against it.” Clegg said at the Semafor event.
How Will Facebook Make Its Decision?
Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram had banned Trump indefinitely the day after the violence perpetrated by his supporters on Capitol Hill to prevent the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory. But Facebook’s Oversight Board, which upheld the suspension in May 2021, said it was “not appropriate” to suspend Trump without telling him for how long.
“Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols,” Clegg responded in a blog post on June 2021. “We are suspending his accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7 this year.”
He then added that:
“At the end of this period, we will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded. We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest,” Clegg said.
“If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk has receded.”
How About Twitter and Youtube?
In addition to Facebook, Twitter and Youtube had also suspended the ex-president’s accounts indefinitely. He then decided to launch his own social network. Despite Trump’s popularity with Republican voters, Truth Social has failed to compete with the big players in the industry. Its planned merger with Digital World Acquisition (DWAC), a blank check company, to go public is currently in serious jeopardy.
Twitter (TWTR) – Get Twitter Inc. Report has not yet communicated its intentions regarding the suspension, but billionaire Elon Musk had promised that if he acquired the microblogging website he would lift it. However, there is a problem: Musk has decided to withdraw its offer to acquire the platform for $44 billion.
Youtube (GOOGL) – Get Alphabet Inc. Report said last year that it will only reinstate the account if it determines the risk of abuse is minimal.
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“The channel remains suspended due to the risk of incitement to violence,” chief executive officer Susan Wojcicki said in March 2021 during an interview with the Atlantic Council think tank.
“We will turn the account back on,” Wojcicki said. “But it will be when we see the reduced law enforcement in capitals in the U.S, if we don’t see different warnings coming out of government agencies, those would all be signals to us that it would be safe to turn the channel back on.”
A return to Facebook would be a huge advantage for Trump just over a year from the 2024 presidential election. It would allow him to have a much larger platform to get his messages across as he does not rule out running for the White House again.
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This story was originally published September 22, 2022 4:25 PM.
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