OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former President Donald Trump appears to be on his way back to Twitter and Facebook. After he was banned indefinitely from Facebook two years ago, and since his announcement of his campaign for president, his team has formally requested Facebook restore his accounts, NBC News reported.
“We believe that the ban on President Trump’s account on Facebook has dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse,” his campaign said in a letter to Meta Facebook’s parent company, on Tuesday, which was reviewed by NBC News.
Trump’s campaign didn’t threaten a lawsuit, as some sources close to Trump thought he would. It instead talked about the importance of free speech and petitioned Meta for a “meeting to discuss President Trump’s prompt reinstatement to the platform.” A Meta spokesperson declined to comment about Trump beyond saying the company “will announce a decision in the coming weeks in line with the process we laid out.”
Facebook initiated a ban after the January 6, 2021, incident at the Capitol that was to be reviewed again starting on January 7 of this year.
“Trump is probably coming back to Twitter. It’s just a question of how and when,” a Republican who spoke with the former president but prefers to remain anonymous said. “He’s been talking about it for weeks, but Trump speaks for Trump, so it’s anyone’s guess what he’ll do or say or when.”
“Another Trump confidant who also didn’t want to be identified speaking about conversations with him said that Trump has sought input for weeks about hopping back on Twitter and that his campaign advisers have also workshopped ideas for his first tweet,” the report said.
“Some advisers said Trump might be limited in posting on other social media platforms now that he has founded his own, called Truth Social. Truth Social declined to comment about any alleged limits, and a spokesman for Trump said the campaign believes he’ll be able to return to Twitter as before,” it said.
But Democrats want the former president to remain banned on Facebook.
“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,” Democrat California Rep Adam Schiff said in a letter to Meta signed by three fellow Democrats.
“Following the 2022 midterm elections, we write to urge Meta to maintain its commitment to keeping dangerous and unfounded election denial content off its platform. To that end, we also urge Meta and its leadership to continue the suspension of former president Donald Trump’s Facebook account beyond January, and to carefully monitor and counter the spread of harmful election misinformation, including the Big Lie about the 2020 presidential election, on Facebook,” the letter said.
“After each election cycle, social media platforms like Meta often alter or roll back certain misinformation policies, because they are temporary and specific to the election season. Doing so in this current environment, in which election disinformation continuously erodes trust in the integrity of the voting process, would be a tragic mistake. Meta must commit to strong election misinformation policies year round, as we are still witnessing falsehoods about voting and the prior elections spreading on your platform,” it said.
“Meta has previously taken concrete actions to fight falsehoods and misinformation regarding elections, such as Facebook’s adding labels on election-related posts promoting reliable information in 2020 and 2021, which was an important step in countering the proliferation of election misinformation on the platform. We also supported Meta’s decision to suspend the Facebook account of former president Trump for, ‘maintaining an unfounded narrative of electoral fraud and persistent calls to action’ therefore creating ‘an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible’ according to the Facebook Oversight Board.1 That risk persists, and certainly has not diminished since the former president’s removal,” the letter said.
The former president has been reinstated on Twitter by CEO Elon Musk but he has not tweeted since he was allowed back on the site.