On January 7, Facebook’s parent company Meta may decide to lift the suspension of former President Donald Trump. But Democratic lawmakers are urging the company to keep the suspension in place because Trump continues to falsely insist the 2020 election was stolen from him.
On Wednesday, four lawmakers, including Rep. Adam Schiff of California and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, sent(Opens in a new window) a letter to Meta’s president for global affairs, Nick Clegg, calling on the company to maintain the suspension.
“Trump continued to post harmful election content on Truth Social that would likely violate Facebook policies, and we have every reason to believe he would bring similar conspiratorial rhetoric back to Facebook, given the chance,” wrote the lawmakers.
Meta initially suspended Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts for his role in supporting the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill. But last year, the company decided to impose the suspension for just two years, until January 7, 2023.
The catch is that Meta could decide to extend the suspension if it determines that “there is still a serious risk to public safety” by allowing Trump to return. This could include factors such as “instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest”.
Democratic lawmakers say it’s clear the former president remains a threat to America’s democratic systems, citing lies Trump continues to spread about elections in the country.
“Two years later, we can see unequivocally that Trump is still propagating the Big Lie and thereby undermining our democracy,” they wrote. “Indeed, he expressed his support for forgiving those involved in the January 6 attack on police, if he ever had the chance.”
Meta’s Clegg gave no indication of how the company will rule. But during an event(Opens in a new window) in September, he reportedly said, “We’ll talk to the experts, we’ll talk to third parties, we’ll try to assess what we think the implications of Trump’s return to the platform will be.”
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The company declined to comment on the Democrats’ letter to Clegg. However, a Meta spokesperson noted that if Trump returns to Facebook and Instagram, he could face another suspension if he flouts the rules.
“When the suspension is finally lifted, there will be a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr. Trump commits further violations in the future, up to and including the permanent removal of his pages and posts. accounts,” Meta said.(Opens in a new window) in June 2021.
The letter from the Democratic lawmakers then urges Meta to clamp down on election denial rhetoric throughout the year, not just during an election season. Meanwhile, Twitter – under new owner Elon Musk – has already reinstated Trump’s account on the platform after he was also banned for posts related to Jan. 6. However, Trump has so far not posted on his Twitter account and continues to post on Truth Social.
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