Meta announced on Wednesday that it will reinstate former President Donald Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks, setting a new precedent for the company's treatment of world leaders.
Nick Clegg, Meta's president of global affairs, explained the decision to Axios: “We've always believed that Americans should be able to hear from the people who want to lead the country. We don't want to stand in the way of that.”
The move comes weeks after Twitter chief Elon Musk reinstated Trump’s account two years after he was banned. Despite being unbanned, Trump has yet to post and instead continues to use his account at Truth Social.
Trump was barred from Facebook, along with Twitter and many other social media platforms, shortly after the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, due to his violation of the companies' rules and the fear of further incitements to violence.
The reinstatement of Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts — which have 34 million and 23 million followers respectively — will allow him to run ads through them, as he relied heavily on Facebook ads in previous elections for fundraising and list-building.
Trump will be subject to Meta's new policies developed with feedback from its independent Oversight Board, which could restrict his accounts — including his ability to run ads — should he violate the company's policies in the future.
As Clegg stated, “We just do not want — if he is to return to our services — for him to do what he did on January 6, which is to use our services to delegitimize the 2024 election, much as he sought to discredit the 2020 election.”