An image of President Donald Trump appears on video screens before his speech to supporters from the Ellipse at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress prepares to certify Electoral College votes.
Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
Meta will allow former President Donald Trump to return to Facebook and Instagram in the coming weeks, the company announced, two years after its suspension was imposed following the 2021 riot at the US Capitol.
“As a general rule, we do not want to impede open, public, and democratic debate on Meta’s platforms — especially in the context of elections in democratic societies like the United States,” Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, wrote in a blog post announcing the decision. “The public needs to be able to hear what their politicians have to say – the good, the bad and the ugly – so they can make an informed choice at the ballot box.”
facebook, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube all made the unprecedented decision to block a sitting US president from their platforms at the time, after deciding it outweighed the risk of potentially further inciting violence. However, the platforms’ bans varied in degree, with Twitter opting for a permanent ban and Facebook saying the suspension was temporary, eventually setting a two-year timeline before reviewing the decision.
The shutdown came after a crowd stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as lawmakers worked to certify the election of President Joe Biden. Then-Vice President Mike Pence was taken away to safety by the Secret Service, aware of the danger to him as he observed what is normally routine Congressional procedure.
Although Trump at one point urged the crowd to remain peaceful, he also fueled the lie that the election was “stolen from us,” tweeting at one point during the day that Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution,” possibly by obstructing the election results that denied Trump a second term.
“The suspension was an extraordinary decision taken in extraordinary circumstances,” Clegg wrote. “Now that the suspension period has expired, the question is not whether we will choose to reinstate Mr. Trump’s accounts, but whether there remain such extraordinary circumstances that extending the suspension beyond the initial two-year period is warranted.”
Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have previously removed or labeled certain posts from the president that they deemed harmful before ultimately choosing to block his account.
The evening of January 6, 2021. Facebook said that “two policy violations” on Trump’s page would trigger a 24-hour block on her platforms. The next day, the company said in a statement that it believed “the risks of allowing President Trump to continue using our service during this period are simply too great” and said the ban would last “for at least the next two weeks,” by stepping into Position.
On the day of Biden’s inauguration, the company said it was refers the suspension to its independent supervisory board, which Facebook created to make binding decisions about content. The supervisory board said Facebook should set a timetable to reevaluate its decision, which Facebook determined June 2021 should be two years since Trump’s impeachment on January 7, 2021.
IN blog post In announcing the timeframe, Facebook CEO Nick Clegg said the decision on whether to restore Trump’s account would be based on “whether the risk to public safety has diminished,” taking into account “incidents of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil excitement. “
If Trump is allowed back into the service, Clegg said at the time, there will be “a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr. Trump commits further violations in the future, up to and including the permanent removal of his pages and accounts .”
Trump has since turned his thoughts to Truth Social, an app he supports that closely resembles Twitter and is run by former Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.
New Twitter owner Elon Musk lifted a suspension on Trump’s platform last year, although the former president has yet to resume tweeting from his account.
This story is evolving. Check back for updates.
WATCH: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy taps remarks for Jan. 6