After facing a ban for two years, former US President Donald Trump made his comeback on Facebook this Friday and wrote “I’m back” on his account in sheer felicity. Although his account was reactivated a few weeks ago, this was the first time he posted after returning to the platform. While running a political campaign for the White House for the third time, he also shared an old video clip saying, “Sorry to keep you waiting. Complicated business”.
Donald Trump was banned from Facebook following January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. The decision was made by Facebook’s independent Oversight Board, which concluded that Trump had violated the platform’s rules by using his account to incite violence and spread misinformation. He spoke in favor of the rioters on multiple social media channels. A Ban of two years was initiated while Facebook stated that it would review whether the risk to public safety had receded at the end of that period. However, in June 2021, Facebook announced that the ban would be extended until at least January 2023.
As per reports from the company, his access to Meta-owned platforms, Facebook and Instagram was reinstated on February 9th. “The public should be able to hear what their leaders have to say- the good, the bad, and the ugly,” Meta’s Vice President Nick Clegg had said at the time. Facebook had faced criticism from both sides of the spectrum during the ban as some argued it is an attack on free speech while others condemned Facebook’s delayed response on the matter and called the platform an open ground for hate speech.
Facebook, the largest social media site in the world, had been the biggest source of fundraising for Trump during both of his previous presidential campaigns. With Trump’s following of 23 Million on Instagram and 34 Million on Facebook till 9th February, the platforms will continue to serve as the most crucial tools to reach voters for the Presidential Elections of 2024.
It’s worth noting that Trump was also banned from other social media platforms, including Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat, following the Capitol riot. However, the leader founded his own social media platform named Truth Social in late 2021 to remain in touch with his audience. Based on his posts on Truth Social, people in the opposition stated that he continues to pose the same threat to society that led to his suspension.
In a detailed announcement of reinstating Trump’s account, Meta mentioned, “we are doing so with new guardrails to defer repeat offenses”. Under their updated protocol, the distribution of posts is subject to limitations. Furthermore, the company concluded by speaking about free speech and added, “Democracy is messy and people should be able to make their voices heard. 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”.