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Meta will restore Trump’s Facebook account ‘in the coming weeks’ • TechCrunch

Two years after the company formerly known as Facebook suspended then-President Donald Trump’s account, it’s bringing him back. Meta announced its decision on Wednesday to restore former President Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, adding it would do so in “the coming weeks.”

The company was expected to weigh in on Trump’s fate sometime this month. Meta’s semi-independent outside policy committee, the Oversight Board, declined to rule on the matter itself when given the chance two years ago, but it did prompt the company to set a timetable for Trump’s suspension. That two-year suspension expired this month.

In tweets and a post on Meta’s blogFacebook Global Affairs president Nick Clegg said Meta had finished evaluating whether the “serious risk to public safety” Trump posed two years ago remains.

“Our determination is that the risk has diminished enough that we should therefore stick to the two-year timeline that we have set,” Clegg said. “As such, we will be restoring Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks.”

Clegg also cited new guardrails to ensure Trump remains within the rules, namely “increased penalties for repeat infractions.” Meta released updated rules this month which apply to public figures inciting civil unrest and under those guidelines Trump would be suspended from one month to an additional two years if he commits another offense.

In 2021, the Oversight Board criticized Meta for the ambiguous indefinite sentence it issued after the former president incited violence during the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Twitter was less ambiguous at the time, issuing Trump a lifetime ban on his services.

Twitter’s own decision seemed permanent, but two years later Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, bought the social company, reversing that decision and many other suspensions the company had enforced while enforcing its guidelines against hate and harassment. .

While Trump’s path to a social media mainstream return has now been cleared, the former president may be standing in his way. According to the SEC documents, Trump still has an exclusivity agreement with his own social media company Truth Social, which requires him to post content there for six hours before sharing it with other platforms. Beyond that, Trump is “generally obligated” to stick with Truth Social rather than mainstream social networks like Twitter and Facebook, though the contract expires in June and he apparently happy to finish it.

Meta’s Oversight Board noted that it was notified of the company’s decision yesterday, and while it had no role in dictating the outcome, it approved the company’s process.

“Today’s decision by Meta is a pivotal moment in the debate on how best to deal with harmful content posted by politicians on social media,” the Oversight Board said. wrote in a blog post.

As Meta wrote, there are arguments on both sides of the debate about where to draw the line on what content should be allowed online. Independent oversight of decisions related to speech on social media platforms is why the council was created – to ensure companies act in a transparent and accountable manner.

This story develops…

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