META, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has become the target of heavy criticism coming from lead Democrats over its recent choice to allow former President Donald Trump to once again post on the platform in the name of free speech.
Wednesday of last week, META announced that it would be putting an end to the suspension which was slammed against Trump from both Instagram and Facebook, claiming that the penalty put in place in the wake of the January 6 riot was “an extraordinary decision taken in extraordinary circumstances,” and made the promise to enforce “certain guardrails” around Trump going forward.
“Social media is rooted in the belief that open debate and the free flow of ideas are important values, especially at a time when they are under threat in many places around the world. As a general rule, we don’t want to get in the way of open, public and democratic debate on Meta’s platforms — especially in the context of elections in democratic societies like the United States,” explained the company in its recent announcement.
The company did not explain just when Trump would once again be allowed to post on the platforms it owns, but did state that it was quite confident that the “risk” which Trump supposedly posted to the general public had passed. As another company that chose to suspend Trump because of the events that took place at the Capitol, Twitter also chose to once again reinstate Trump, despite the fact that the former president has elected to not make use of it in favor of making use of his own platform, Truth Social.
“We are bringing Mr. Trump back in the coming weeks with certain guardrails, applicable to any public figures suspended for certain violations during times of civil unrest,” explained a statement released by META. “The penalties and potential restrictions we’ve put in place are a deterrent.”
The company went on to add that it was very important for the American public to be able to access content from those such as Trump, even if it was “distasteful or factually wrong.”
Both Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) issued a letter out to Nicholas Clegg, the President of Global Affairs for META, in which they whined about the choice from the company to allow Trump back on the platform.
“Based on Meta’s previous statements on standards for allowing Trump back on the platform, his account should not have been reinstated. Trump has continued to post harmful election content on Truth Social that would likely violate Facebook’s policies, and we have every reason to believe he will bring similar conspiratorial rhetoric back to Facebook, too,” the pair stated in the letter. “How Facebook could reinstate his account, given all the additional content on Truth Social that would likely have resulted in a brand-new suspension if it were on your platform, is inexplicable.”
“[W]e believe that part of Meta’s commitment to election integrity should be ensuring that those who maintain the unfounded, dangerous narrative of the 2020 election are not allowed or encouraged to spread the lie in any form,” they concluded. “It is not clear in this decision where Meta will draw the 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” and we would greatly appreciate further clarity on this matter.'”