December 21, 2022
Nick Clegg, President of Global Affairs at Meta
Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer of Facebook
Dear Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Clegg:
As representatives of 29 civil society and civil rights groups, we write to oppose Donald Trump’s reinstatement to Meta’s platforms. Meta, then Facebook, deplatformed Trump following his proliferation of election disinformation and calls for violence that led to the insurrection on January 6, 2021.
Mr. Zuckerberg, you yourself have admitted that Donald Trump used the “platform to incite violent insurrection.” The deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol was organized in no small part on Facebook — as revealed in reports and DOJ documents. The insurrection was a manifestation of a year-long campaign by Donald Trump to dehumanize his critics and delegitimize our democracy with falsehoods that spread virally across your platforms.
Yet the January 6th victims are not the only ones who have suffered because of Trump’s presence on Meta’s platforms. For months before the August 2019 massacre at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, Donald Trump Facebook ads dehumanized immigrants and Latinx people, referring to them as part of a “hispanic invasion.” These ads were in heavy circulation in Texas when the shooter drove to Walmart to shoot as many Latinx people as possible, killing twenty-three and injuring dozens more.
The rich and the powerful, including Trump, should have to play by the same rules as the rest of us. There is no legitimate justification for Meta to reinstate Trump. In the two years since his ban, Trump has continued the brazen behavior that led to his initial ban from your platform. Trump’s posts on his new social media platform, Truth Social, are an ugly cesspool of disinformation, harassment, and violence. New research analyzing Trump’s Truth Social account from April 28th to October 8th found more than 350 posts that constitute violations of Facebook’s Community Standards – the equivalent of more than two prohibited posts per day he’s been on the platform. Another study found that nearly half of Trump’s posts and reposts on Truth Social (48%), during the week after the 2022 election, pushed claims of election fraud and amplified QAnon accounts or content.
As Meta considers its decision about whether to reinstate his account, this research shows that Trump’s online behavior has only grown more extreme – and his presence on the platform would directly harm user safety as well as society on the whole. Trump’s lies and hate undermine our democracy and create a more divided, less informed, and more violent country. Terroristic threats aimed at election administrators, law enforcement officers, and public officials have surged, and political violence is increasingly viewed as the norm — roughly 1 in 3 Americans now believe that violence against the government can be justified.
It is unconscionable that Meta would re-platform Donald Trump on January 7th, 2023 knowing full well what he would do with the platform it provides him: put more lives and our democracy at risk. You would be handing him the same megaphone he used to incite an insurrection at a time of great peril for American democracy. Trump has made clear his disregard for the integrity of democracy and U.S. elections. If you reinstate Trump’s account, you will be knowingly putting American lives and democracy at risk. The undersigned organizations strongly urge you to permanently ban Donald Trump from your platform.
Media Matters For America
Alliance for a Better Utah
Center for American Progress Action Fund
Check My Ads
Election Protection Arizona
Fair Vote UK
Friends of the Earth
FUU People Power (Facebook Users Union)
Global Project Against Hate and Extremism
Human Rights Campaign
Liberation in a Generation
National Hispanic Media Coalition
ProgressNow New Mexico Education Fund
Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund
The Real Facebook Oversight Board
The Sparrow Project
Win Without War