The Trump campaign has formally petitioned Meta to reinstate the Donald's former Facebook account, now that his two-year timeout has expired, and given that his dormant account still has seven times more followers than he has on Truth Social.
"We believe that the ban on President Trump’s account on Facebook has dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse," Trump’s campaign wrote in its letter to Meta on Tuesday, which was obtained by NBC News. The Trump campaign isn't threatening legal action at the moment, but they are politely asking for a meeting to discuss the situation.
A Meta spokesperson only said that the company "will announce a decision in the coming weeks in line with the process we laid out."
Back in 2021, Facebook promised, after directives from its Oversight Board, to extend Trump's suspension from the platform only for two years, at which point the company would reassess whether the ban was still needed. That two years was up on January 7, the day in 2021 when Trump was banned from Facebook "indefinitely" for his clear role in inciting, encouraging, and failing to quell the violence of a insurrectionist mob on January 6th. Twitter banned him on January 8, 2021.
The company's ostensibly independent Oversight Board had ruled, earlier in 2021, that such bans were "standardless" and "indeterminate", and suggested the company set up protocols for putting accounts into deep freezes and laying out the rules by which all suspensions and bans should be governed.
But Facebook gave itself an out, at least where Trump was concerned. Meta's President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg said at the time of the decision, that this so-far highest penalty for breaking Facebook community guidelines, a two-year suspension, came with caveats about safety.
"At the end of this period, we will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded," Clegg wrote. "We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest. If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk has receded."
Clegg also promised that if Trump quickly returned to his usual bullshit of election interference and encouraging violence, there would be "a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr. Trump commits further violations in future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts."
Twitter made no such promises about reinstating Trump's account, opting just to permanently ban him for the sins of January 6th. But then, under the new leadership of Elon Musk, Trump's account was reinstated along with those of a host of other bigots and right-wing attention whores. After pledging to leave those reinstatement decisions up to an independent moderation board, Musk just took a Twitter poll instead.
Trump hasn't yet tweeted since he regained access to his account, and NBC News suggests, via a source, that there is some behind-the-scene strategizing about what Trump's first tweet back will be — because lord knows he will want to talk to those 88 million followers again very soon. He may be under some contractual obligation to do most of his tweeting on his platform Truth Social, but even if that thing doesn't implode in the next year, he only has a paltry 4.8 million followers. Trump's dormant Facebook account — which, let's just assume, reaches a slightly older demographic than his Twitter — has 34 million followers.
Rep. Adam Schiff has already petitioned Meta, via a letter, to keep Trump freezed out. "Trump has continued to post harmful election content on Truth Social that would likely violate Facebook’s policies, and we have every reason to believe he would bring similar conspiratorial rhetoric back to Facebook, if given the chance," Schiff wrote.
The probable scenario has always been that Facebook would let Trump back on the platform, but then suspend him again for an inevitable violation, now that Mark Zuckerberg is presumably no longer kowtowing to the Republicans like he did a few years back.
In the past, Trump had primarily done most of his sounding off — often with random capitalizations of words — on Twitter, though his two social accounts were linked and his tweets would simply duplicate onto Facebook.
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