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Trump campaign asks Meta to reinstate his Facebook account
Donald Trump's campaign is asking Facebook's parent company to reinstate his access on grounds he's a declared 2024 presidential candidate and that keeping him off the platform is interfering with the political process.
Trump's campaign sent a letter Tuesday to Meta Platforms Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and other company officials requesting a meeting "to discuss President Trump's prompt reinstatement to the platform."
"At a time when the United States faces critical issues that impact its citizens and the world, and at a time when the country begins the process of choosing its next president, we believe that Meta should be encouraging a full and robust dialogue, not silencing presidential candidates," the campaign said in the letter.
A Meta spokesman said the company will announce its decision about reinstating Trump's access this month. NBC News first reported on the letter.
Trump lost access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts on Jan. 6, 2021, after the company deemed that some of his posts were encouraging his supporters to riot at the U.S. Capitol and impede Congress from confirming the results of the presidential election, which Joe Biden won. The temporary suspension was changed to an "indefinite" suspension the following day.
Meta asked its oversight board—a group of outside lawyers, journalists and policy experts tapped by the company to provide advice on policy—to review its decision, and ultimately decided that the suspension would last for at least two years. Nick Clegg, Meta's President of Global Affairs and the former UK Deputy Prime Minister, is responsible for deciding whether to reinstate Trump's account.
Trump's Dec. 19 tweet encouraging supporters to come to Washington on Jan. 6—"Be there, will be wild!"—was a transformative moment across social media, changing the tenor of the conversation online to explicit planning for the event, according to an unpublished staff report from the House's Jan. 6 committee. Plans for violence were telegraphed on both far-right forums and mainstream platforms, which pushed Jan. 6 as a critical day in the "Stop the Steal" movement, the report said.
Trump's campaign noted in its letter that Twitter Inc. owner and Chief Executive Elon Musk reversed a permanent ban on the former president's account in November. Trump hasn't resumed posting on Twitter, saying he'll stick with Truth Social, his own social media platform.
The former president said in a Jan. 5 Truth Social post that Meta "has been doing very poorly" and "become very boring" since suspending him. He said the decision to remove him and change the name from Facebook "will go down in the Business Hall of Fame for two of the worst decisions in Business History!"
Lawmakers including Democratic U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff sent a letter to Clegg last month urging Meta to continue Trump's suspension and to "maintain its commitment to keeping dangerous election denial content off its platform."
The lawmakers said Trump continues to post "harmful election content" and amplify QAnon sites on Truth Social that would likely violate Meta's policies—and "we have every reason to believe he would bring similar conspiratorial rhetoric back to Facebook, if given the chance."
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