Jan. 25 (Reuters) – Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) said on Wednesday that former President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts had been suspended for two years for the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol Hill riots. They announced that the account will be reactivated in the coming weeks. .
Restoring his account could give Trump a boost when he announced in November that he would run for the White House in 2024. On his Facebook he has 34 million followers and on Instagram he has 23 million followers. Donation.
His Twitter account was restored in November by new owner Elon Musk, but Trump has yet to post there.
Free speech advocates say it is appropriate to allow the public access to messages from electoral candidates, but Meta critics have accused Meta of lax moderation policies. increase.
Meta said in a blog post on Wednesday that it had “installed new guardrails to deter repeat offenders.”
“If Trump posts any more violating content, the content will be removed and suspended for one month to two years, depending on the severity of the offense,” wrote Nick Clegg, president of Global Affairs at Meta. I’m here. in a blog post.
The decision, which was widely anticipated, was heavily criticized by civil rights advocates. Laura Murphy, the attorney who led Facebook’s two-year audit that ended in 2020, said: “Facebook has policies, but they are not well implemented. I am concerned about Facebook’s ability to see the harm. It was too late to act.”
The Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, the Free Press and other groups also expressed concern on Wednesday about Facebook’s ability to prevent future attacks on the democratic process, falsely claiming that Trump won the 2020 presidential election. repeating.
Others said it was the right decision.
Jameel Jafar, executive director of Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute and former ACLU employee, defended his reinstatement. He previously supported the company’s decision to suspend Trump’s account.
“People are interested in hearing directly from candidates for public office,” Jafar said. “Major social media platforms would be better off leaving their remarks alone, even if they are offensive or false, so that other users and other institutions can take action.”
The decision to ban Trump was polarizing for Meta, the world’s largest social media company. Prior to Trump’s suspension, Meta had never blocked a sitting head of state’s account for violating its content rules.
The company took down Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts after deleting two posts of him during the Capitol Hill riots, including a video that repeated false claims that voter fraud was rampant in the 2020 presidential election. We have indefinitely revoked access to your account.
The case was subsequently referred to an independent oversight board, which determined that the suspension was warranted but not due to its indeterminate nature. In response, Meta said he would reconsider two years after the suspension began.
Meta’s blog post on Wednesday suggests it may reopen other suspended accounts, including those punished for their involvement in civil unrest. The company said restored accounts will be subject to stricter scrutiny and penalties for violations.
It is unclear if and how Trump will seize the opportunity to return to Facebook and Instagram.
Trump has said he has not sent any new tweets since reclaiming his Twitter account and prefers to continue using his app, Truth Social. But a spokesperson for his campaign told Fox News Digital last week that returning to Facebook “will be a key tool for the 2024 campaign to reach voters.”
In a post on Truth Social, Trump said of the revival of meta apps: He has not disclosed if or when he will resume posting on the Metaplatform.
Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, who once chaired the House Intelligence Committee, criticized his reinstatement decision.
“Trump instigated a riot,” Schiff wrote on Twitter. “Giving him access to social media platforms to spread his lies and demagogues is risky.”
Reporting by Sheila Dunn of Dallas and Katie Paul of Palo Alto. Additional reporting by Greg Bensinger, David Shepardson, Kanishka Singh, Eva Mathews, and Yuvraj Malik.Editing by Kenneth Lee and Rosalba O’Brien
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