Meta announced Wednesday that it will allow former President Donald Trump to return to Facebook and Instagram in the coming weeks, ending a two-year suspension that followed his "acts of incitement" leading up to and during the Capitol riot in 2021.
Facebook suspended Trump "indefinitely" on Jan. 7, 2021, after he spread dangerous lies about the 2020 election. But Meta, Facebook's parent company, reduced that to a two-year ban in June later that year. Meta's oversight board claimed the indefinite ban was "not appropriate" and the company said Trump could be reinstated "if conditions permit."
Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Meta, said in a statement Wednesday that “new guardrails" are being put in place "to deter repeat offenses.”
There will be “heightened penalties for repeat offenses — penalties which will apply to other public figures whose accounts are reinstated from suspensions related to civil unrest under our updated protocol," Clegg said. "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,”
In the two years since he was banned from Facebook, Trump has shown no signs of stopping his dangerous behavior, going as far as launching his own social media platform where he can fire off the same lies and baseless conspiracy theories at will. But, to be frank, Facebook hasn’t inspired much confidence in its desire to improve its most dangerous aspects since then, either.
Now Meta is inviting someone back who generated a lot of traffic for the company — and at a time when it's showing some financial instability. Are those the "conditions" that "permit" a power-hungry firehose of violent rhetoric back into the fold?