Former President Donald Trump will regain access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts “in the coming weeks,” Meta’s president of global affairs Nick Clegg announced Wednesday.
Clegg had previously told Semafor that Trump’s accounts could be reinstated this January. He was indefinitely suspended from the platforms following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot more than two years ago.
In a statement, Clegg said that Meta had determined that maintaining the ban on Trump would be impractical and detrimental to free speech.
“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,” he said. “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 said that after reviewing crisis protocols and expert assessment, Meta determined Trump’s risk of inciting future political violence had “significantly receded.”
He added that Meta now has new guardrails in place for repeat offenders who are public figures. In light of Trump’s past violation of Meta’s community standards, the former president could face “heightened penalties for repeat offenses” like other public figures who faced suspensions related to civil unrest.
If Trump were to post content that further violated Meta’s guidelines, then he could face a suspension of anywhere between a month to two years, depending on the severity of the violation.
Clegg added that Meta will also enforce more rigorous content moderation for future posts from Trump that reference QAnon or delegitimize elections. Users may be restricted from sharing or liking these posts, if they are not removed.
Meta and Twitter indefinitely suspended Trump from their platforms after the former president praised rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 2021.
After leaving the White House, Trump launched his own social media site, Truth Social, but the platform has not gained traction with the general public.
Since Trump announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election, his return to social media accounts has been imminent.
In November, Trump’s Twitter account was reinstated under new owner Elon Musk’s pledge to make the platform a haven for free speech. Trump has not yet tweeted since his account was reactivated.