Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, could allow former President Donald Trump back on its platforms as soon as January 7 — just two years after he was suspended for his role in inciting the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
In the last two weeks, Trump has posted on his own platform, Truth Social, at least 258 times, attacking his political foes, pushing election misinformation, and promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Truth Social, which has had an iOS app since February, is plagued by extreme content, QAnon adherents, and Trump’s own harmful rhetoric
As Meta considers whether to allow former President Donald Trump back on its platforms, his increasingly extreme behavior on his social media platform Truth Social — pushing misinformation and amplifying conspiracy theories — demonstrates the potential real-world harm that such a move would pose.
During today’s hearing, a January 6 rioter revealed the extent to which Trump and his social media posts influenced his actions, and the House select committee aired testimony from a former Twitter employee who admitted that the platform took a hands-off approach to former President Donald Trump. The testimonies highlight the real-life harm of Trump’s social media use – which the former president has never once apologized for.
During an interview at the Financial Times’ Future of the Car conference earlier today, Elon Musk — who has a pending deal with Twitter to buy the company — announced that he would “reverse the perma-ban” currently preventing former President Donald Trump from using the platform. Musk’s comments ignore both Trump’s previous social media behavior, in which he regularly pushed harmful misinformation and extreme rhetoric, and his continued promotion of election misinformation that incited the January 6, 2021, insurrection. Musk also revealed his fundamental lack of understanding of how much Trump’s presence on these social media platforms helped push misinformation to a large audience.
The Facebook Oversight Board just announced its decision to uphold the suspension of former President Donald Trump in response to his actions on January 6. But the board ruled that Facebook should not have imposed “the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension” and the platform now must “decide the appropriate penalty” for the former president within the next six months.
With this decision, the board has recognized the harm that Trump caused by using the platform to promote misinformation and harmful rhetoric, but has also chosen to put Trump’s fate back in Facebook’s hands. And given the platform’s track record, we’re not optimistic Facebook will make the right decision.
Before Facebook finally took action against former President Donald Trump’s account for inciting violence on January 6, it long allowed him to use the platform to push misinformation to a broad audience, vilify his critics, and contribute to increased public distrust of institutions.
Media Matters analyzed the 6,081 Facebook posts Trump made between January 1, 2020, and January 6, 2021, when Facebook suspended his account, and we found that roughly a quarter of these posts contained misinformation, content warranting an additional information label, or harmful rhetoric about others.