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Will bring back Trump's FB & Instagram accounts in support of 'open debate': Meta

The tech giant also said that it has defined the criteria under which it will ban profiles of public figures after receiving critical feedback from its internal review team

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Jan 30, 2023 1:48 PM  |  2 min read

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Weeks after Donald Trump's Twitter account was reinstated, Meta announced that it will bring back the former US president's Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks.

The tech giant justified its move, stating that it's lifting the two-year-old ban on President Trump's accounts to preserve "open debate" and "free flow of ideas."

"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," write Nick Clegg, President, Global Affairs, Meta in a blog post. 

Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts were suspended following the January 6, 2021 violence at Capitol Hill.

Clegg explained that the decision was then referred to the Oversight Board -- a body comprising experts that performs independent checks on Meta's decision-making. The Board, while supporting the move, also criticised the tech firm's "open-ended nature of the suspension and the lack of clear criteria for when and whether suspended accounts will be restored."

The feedback prompted Meta to review the matter and then took a decision to impose a time-bound suspension of two years from the original date of suspension of Trump's accounts on January 7, 2021.

Meta also defined its criteria which could lead to the suspension of accounts of public figures during times of civil unrest and ongoing violence. It has also introduced a new Crisis Policy Protocol to guide its assessment of on and off-platform risks of imminent harm, wrote Clegg.

The executive also said that before lifting the ban on Trump's accounts, it would assess whether the risk to public safety has receded.

Trump will also be scrutinised for repeat violations with heightened penalties, said the platform.

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