Democrats urge Meta to extend Trump ban

Former President trump
Associated Press/Rebecca Blackwell
Former President Trump takes the stage to speak at an event at Mar-a-Lago, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla.

A group of Democrats urged Meta to extend the ban on former President Trump’s Facebook account, arguing that he would still pose risks of inciting violence and undermining democracy if allowed back on the platform. 

The push comes just weeks ahead of Meta’s self-imposed January deadline to decide whether to keep Trump’s account banned, marking two years since the suspension was put in place following posts the former president made about the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol. 

Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), André Carson (D-Ind.) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), along with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), cited Trump’s posts on his own social media platform, Truth Social, as examples of the “harmful election content” he could post on Facebook if given access to his account in a letter sent to Meta’s President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg Wednesday.

The Democrats said they “have every reason to believe he would bring similar conspiratorial rhetoric back to Facebook, if given the chance.” 

“His rhetoric can only serve as a motivation to incite violence, and it is Meta’s responsibility to keep such rhetoric off its platforms,” they wrote. 

In response to the letter, a Meta spokesperson sent the blog post Clegg wrote in June 2021 about the decision to reevaluate Trump’s suspension in January 2023. At the time, Clegg said that Meta will “look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded,” considering factors such as “instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest.”

If the company determines there is still a “serious risk to public safety,” the restriction will be extended for “a set period of time” and Meta will continue to reevaluate “until that risk has receded,” he wrote. 

Meta’s decision on whether to reinstate Trump comes as the former president is running for president again in 2024. If the company allows Trump back on, it would give him access to a wider audience than he has now using Truth Social, the platform he launched after he was booted from mainstream sites. 

The decision from Meta to reevaluate the suspension contrasted with what Twitter decided at the time. Twitter put an outright permanent ban on Trump’s account. However, since that time, Twitter has had an overhaul of its policies under new owner Elon Musk. 

The billionaire finalized his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter at the end of October, and has since reinstated Trump and other banned users’ accounts. Trump has yet to return to Twitter, though, opting instead to keep posting on Truth Social.

Tags Adam Schiff André Carson Donald Trump Kathy Castor Meta Nick Clegg Sheldon Whitehouse Sheldon Whitehouse

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