Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has announced plans to end the suspension on the accounts of former US President, Donald Trump.
This follows the lifting of the suspension on Trump’s Twitter account.
In January 2021, Facebook and Twitter banned Trump indefinitely, with other social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram taking similar actions against him.
Facebook reviewed its decision in June and suspended the former president’s account for two years.
The social media’s sanction had come after Trump used his accounts to mobilise his supporters to invade the US Capitol building, disrupting the January 6 joint session of congress to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the November 3 election.
At least four people were killed during a face-off between protesters and security operatives during the invasion.
In a statement on Wednesday, Nick Clegg, President, Global Affairs, Meta, said the company would be ending the suspension on Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks.
According to Clegg, the company believes that the public should be able to hear what politicians are saying so they can make informed choices.
He added that new guardrails have been put in place to deter repeat offences.
“Social media is rooted in the belief that open debate and the free flow of ideas are important values, especially at a time when they are under threat in many places around the world,” the statement reads.
“As a general rule, we don’t want to get in the way of open, public, and democratic debate on Meta’s platforms, especially in the context of elections in democratic societies like the United States.
“The public should be able to hear what their politicians are saying: the good, the bad, and the ugly, so that they can make informed choices at the ballot box. But that does not mean there are no limits to what people can say on our platform. When there is a clear risk of real-world harm, a deliberately high bar for Meta to intervene in public discourse, we act.
“The normal state of affairs is that the public should be able to hear from a former President of the United States, and a declared candidate for that office again, on our platforms.
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“Now that the time period of the suspension has elapsed, the question is not whether we choose to reinstate Mr. Trump’s accounts, but whether there remain such extraordinary circumstances that extending the suspension beyond the original two-year period is justified.
“To assess whether the serious risk to public safety that existed in January 2021 has sufficiently receded, we have evaluated the current environment according to our crisis policy protocol, which included looking at the conduct of the US 2022 midterm elections, and expert assessments on the current security environment.
“Our determination is that the risk has sufficiently receded and that we should therefore adhere to the two-year timeline we set out. As such, we will be reinstating Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks. However, we are doing so with new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.
“In light of his violations, he (Trump) now also faces 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.”
Last year, Trump announced his candidacy for the president of the United States in next year’s election.