Meta to Reinstate Donald Trump’s Facebook, Instagram Accounts

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Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. said it would reinstate former President

Donald Trump

‘s Facebook and Instagram accounts, more than two years after they were suspended in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Meta said Wednesday that the accounts would be reinstated “in the coming weeks.” It added, “The public should be able to hear what politicians are saying so they can make informed choices.”

Meta’s head of global affairs,

Nick Clegg,

said that the company had concluded the risk to public safety that warranted Mr. Trump’s original suspension from the platforms had receded adequately, so a continued ban on his accounts wasn’t justifiable. But, he said, Meta would closely watch the former president’s accounts.

Mr. Trump, on his social-media platform Truth Social, said, “Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution!”

Meta suspended Mr. Trump’s Facebook account indefinitely in January 2021 after determining that he had praised violence committed by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol in response to false claims of a stolen election. His Instagram account was also suspended.

“His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the U.S. and around the world,” Meta Chief Executive

Mark Zuckerberg

said at the time.

Meta had indicated it would eventually restore Mr. Trump’s access, writing months after it took the action in January that it would punish his account for additional violations of its rules “when the suspension is eventually lifted.”

It reinforced that view Wednesday. “In light of his violations, he now also faces heightened penalties for repeat offenses,” Mr. Clegg said, adding that such heightened enforcement would occur in future instances when public figures suspended for encouraging potential civil unrest are reinstated to the platforms.

Twitter Inc. also suspended Mr. Trump’s personal account around the same time.

Elon Musk

last year reinstated Mr. Trump’s account; Mr. Musk had said in May that he planned to do so once he took over the platform. Mr. Musk closed the $44 billion deal in October and lifted the suspension in November, days after Mr. Trump said he would make another run for the White House.

Mr. Trump hasn’t resumed posting on Twitter since the account restoration on that platform.

Snapchat parent

Snap Inc.

also locked Mr. Trump’s account indefinitely. It remained locked as of early January.

Mr. Trump was a regular user of social-media platforms before running for office and while in the White House, though Twitter, where he had 87 million followers, was his preferred platform. His posts to Facebook, where he had 34 million followers, consisted largely of material cross-posted from Twitter.

Facebook was historically more important to Mr. Trump as a fundraising vehicle. During Mr. Trump’s suspension from the platform, his campaign continued to run Facebook ads.

After Facebook suspended Mr. Trump, the platform’s outside Oversight Board reviewed the suspension. While the group broadly agreed with the action, it objected to it lasting for an indeterminate amount of time. Facebook in June 2021 said that the suspension would last at least two years and that it would revisit the decision in January 2023, two years after the original suspension.

Mr. Trump, at the time, objected to the suspension.

After being effectively kicked off mainstream social-media platforms, Mr. Trump launched Truth Social, where he has nearly five million followers. Mr. Trump is obligated for some time to make any social-media posts first on Truth Social, though there are exceptions, including posts from a personal account for certain political activities, according to a regulatory filing.

Write to Meghan Bobrowsky at [email protected] and Jeff Horwitz at [email protected]

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