Why did Facebook and Instagram ban Donald Trump and how long did the block last?
In the wake of the insurrection on the US Capitol, social media platforms booted Donald Trump, he’s now been restored to one of his most powerful accounts.
It’s been over two years since Donald Trump was exiled from the two social media sites controlled by Meta. While his account was restored in early February he hadn’t posted anything on Facebook until Friday. He made a similar post on YouTube at the same time after his account was reinstated earlier in the day.
Trump was booted from those social media platforms as well as Twitter in the wake of the insurrection at the US Capitol to stop the ceremonial electoral count on January 6th, which is largely blamed on the former US president. While he hasn’t taken to using Twitter yet, Trump’s messages on YouTube and Facebook don’t conflict with his exclusivity agreement with his own social media platform Truth Social.
“I’M BACK!,” says Trump
Trump’s posted a short video from CNN for his return to mainstream social media on Facebook and YouTube of him announcing his surprise election as president in 2016 over Hillary Clinton. The posts were titled “I’M BACK!” and in the video Trumps says “Sorry to keep you waiting,” before fading to a Trump 2024 screen. On his YouTube channel he additionally put a web page where people can sign up to join his campaign in a bid to retake the White House.
The messages fall within the “political messaging, political fundraising or get-out-the vote efforts” exclusion to his agreement with Truth Social. Under the terms of the with his social media platform, which he launched in 2021 after being ejected from mainstream social media, he is obligated to wait six hours before posting on other platforms messages that don’t fall within the exclusion.
That agreement is expected to expire in June and it’s been reported that Trump is considering not renewing his contract. The platform has been his main avenue to communicate with his supporters and spread his ramblings, which in turn have kept the struggling company afloat for now. Were he to abandon the site it’s expected that that would be the end of Truth Social.
Facebook was a cash cow for Trump before being banished
Trump will be hoping to harness the power of Facebook once again to reach people who haven’t signed up to Truth Social. His campaign effectively used the social media platform to raise vast sums of money during his previous two runs for president. However, the third time may not be so lucky for him.
Since he left much has changed in how Facebook handles advertising. Beginning last year, the platform implemented restrictions on ad targeting for political clients. Additionally, Apple turned off ad tracking by default on their phones in 2021. Both of these could seriously hamper his campaign’s ability to raise funds from small-dollar donors limiting the financial windfall of yesteryear.
He’ll also most likely need to walk a fine line to not hit any of the guard rails that Facebook and YouTube say that they’ve put in place.
Why was Trump banned from Facebook?
Trump was banished from mainstream social media for violating policies on inciting violence after his supporters attacked the US Capitol on January 6th while Congress was certifying the 2020 presidential election of Joe Biden. His posts in the months leading up to his being banned were constantly tagged for spreading inaccurate and false information as well as incendiary messages.
After the assault on the seat of the US government and a belated, half-hearted request by the then-president for them to stop, calls erupted for his accounts to be shut down. The bans were never meant to be permanent but Trump has shown no regret about what transpired on that inglorious day and continues to spout lies about the legitimate elections results.
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