Former President Donald Trump will be allowed back on Instagram and Facebook, the platforms’ parent company Meta announced Wednesday.
Nick Clegg, Meta’s president for global affairs and a former UK deputy prime minister, said Trump’s accounts will be reinstated “in the coming weeks,” but added that “new guardrails” would be instituted “to deter repeat offenses.”
“Social media is rooted in the belief that open debate and the free flow of ideas are important values,” Clegg said in a statement posted to Meta’s website. “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 decision comes after the 76-year-old Republican’s 2024 campaign petitioned Meta to unlock his accounts and let Trump post directly to his 34 million followers on Facebook and 25 million followers on Instagram.
The former president was suspended the day after the Jan 6, 2021, Capitol riot due to fears he would “provoke further violence.”
Meta had initially suspended Trump “indefinitely” and then referred his status to its “Oversight Board,” a so-called “expert body established to be an independent check.” The Board upheld the decision to suspend Trump but said his punishment should have a timeline. That decision led to an announcement he would be barred for at least two years.
Clegg said Meta had based its decision to reinstate Trump on several factors, including the smooth conduct of last year’s midterm elections and expert assessments that “the serious risk to public safety that existed in January 2021 has sufficiently receded.”
“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,” Clegg wrote. “But that does not mean there are no limits to what people can say on our platform.”
Under the terms of his reinstatement, Trump is subject to suspensions of between one month and two years if he posts content violating Meta’s community standards.
Trump was also banned from Twitter but was reinstated in November when new owner Elon Musk restored his account. He has not returned to the platform, instead opting for his own social network, Truth Social, although it has been widely reported he will start tweeting again shortly.