Former US President Donald Trump is coming back to Facebook and Instagram.
In a blog post overnight, Meta Platforms said would be ending Mr Trump’s suspension from the platforms in the coming weeks.
He was suspended from the platforms just over two years ago after the January 6th Capitol Hill riots.
In November of last year, he regained his access to Twitter and confirmed he was in talks with Meta about his return.
In a blog post, Facebook’s President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg said the Mr Trump’s suspension was an “extraordinary decision taken in extraordinary circumstances”.
He said Mr Trump would be reinstated with several new ‘guardrails’ in place to deter repeat offenders – including suspension and the restriction of sharing on his posts.
“In the event that Mr Trump posts further violating content, the content will be removed and he will be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation,” he said.
“Our updated protocol also addresses content that does not violate our Community Standards but that contributes to the sort of risk that materialized on January 6, such as content that delegitimizes an upcoming election or is related to QAnon.
“We may limit the distribution of such posts, and for repeated instances, may temporarily restrict access to our advertising tools.
“This step would mean that content would remain visible on Mr Trump’s account but would not be distributed in people’s feeds, even if they follow Mr Trump.
“We may also remove the reshare button from such posts and may stop them being recommended or run as ads.”
He said Meta may also restrict the distribution of posts if Mr Trump violates the company’s Community Standards but it decides there is a public interest in knowing what he said.
Mr Trump has already confirmed his plans to make another run for the White House in 2024 and Facebook and Instagram are both viewed as key in terms of messaging and fundraising.
Mr Clegg said there is significant debate about how social media companies should approach political content – with calling for moderation and others arguing against censorship.
“The fact is people will always say all kinds of things on the internet,” he said. “We default to letting people speak, even when what they have to say is distasteful or factually wrong.
“Democracy is messy and people should be able to make their voices heard.
“We believe it is both necessary and possible to draw a line between content that is harmful and should be removed, and content that, however distasteful or inaccurate, is part of the rough and tumble of life in a free society.”
He said the company is aware that any decision it makes will be “fiercely criticised” – but noted that a decision “had to be made” one way or the other.