Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff (Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse) demanded answers from Meta about the decision of the social media giant to reinstate former President Donald Trump on Facebook and Instagram. They called the move “inexplicable”
Last week, Meta announced that it would lift Trump’s suspension across all its platforms. This was after the Capitol riot of Jan. 6, 2021.
Nick Clegg, President of Global Affairs at Meta, stated in a blog that Trump’s suspension would be lifted “in coming weeks.”
Whitehouse, D.R.I. and Schiff, D.Calif. criticize Meta’s decision, saying that the former president shouldn’t be reinstated.
“Based on Meta’s statements regarding standards for allowing Trump back onto the platform, his account shouldn’t have been restored,” Schiff and Whitehouse wrote Monday to Clegg, saying that Trump had “continued posting harmful election content on Truth Social that would probably violate Facebook’s policies, but we have every reason believe that he will bring back similar conspiratorial rhetoric to Facebook.”
They said: “How Facebook could reinstate him account, given all of the additional content on Truth Social, that would have likely resulted in an entirely new suspension if it was on your platform is inexplicable.”
Schiff and Whitehouse also requested Meta to give a briefing about the company’s efforts “to uphold election integrity and prevent their platform from being used to spread conspiracy theories and electoral lies.”
Schiff and Whitehouse also requested Meta to give a briefing about the company’s efforts “to uphold election integrity and prevent their platform from being used to spread conspiracy theories and electoral lies.” LightRocket via Getty Images)
They wrote, “[W]e believe that Meta’s commitment should be to election integrity to ensure that those who continue the unfounded and dangerous narrative of 2020 are not permitted or encouraged to spread it in any form.”
“It is unclear in this decision where Meta will draw a line ‘between content which is harmful and should not be removed and content that, although distasteful and inaccurate, is part and parcel of life in free societies’. We would appreciate more clarity on this matter.”
After the Jan. 6 riot at U.S. Capitol, the social media company moved to block Trump. The platform’s Oversight Board affirmed that decision in May 2021. However, the board requested Facebook to review Trump’s suspension of “indefinite” and “decide the appropriate punishment.”
Meta Platforms decided in June 2021 to suspend his Instagram and Facebook accounts for two years, ending January 2023. The company would then reassess the status of the former president.
Clegg stated in a blog post that Trump now faces increased penalties for repeat offenses. These penalties will also apply to other public figures whose accounts have been reinstated from suspensions related civil unrest under the updated protocol.
Clegg admitted that “reasonable people”, will have different opinions about Meta’s decision not to allow Trump to return on its platforms.
“But we had to make a decision, so we tried to do it as best as we could in accordance with our values and the process that we established in response the Oversight Board’s guidance.”
Trump posted on Truth Social last week in reaction to Meta’s decision: “Facebook, which has lost Billions since ‘deplatforming’ your favorite President, me has just announced that they will reinstate my account.”