Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse on Monday are demanding answers from Meta on the social media giant’s decision to reinstate former President Donald Trump to Facebook and Instagram, slamming the move as “inexplicable.”
Meta, last week, announced it would end Trump’s suspension across its platforms, which began after the Capitol riot Jan. 6, 2021.
In a blog post, Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Meta, said Trump’s suspension would be lifted “in the coming weeks.”
But Schiff, D-Calif., and Whitehouse, D-R.I., are slamming Meta for its decision, saying the former president should not be reinstated.
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Schiff is slamming Meta’s decision to reinstate Trump to Facebook and Instagram.
“Based on Meta’s previous statements on standards for allowing Trump back on the platform, his account should not have been reinstated,” Schiff and Whitehouse wrote in a letter to Clegg Monday, claiming that 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.”
They added: “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.”
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Schiff and Whitehouse also asked Meta to provide a briefing on the company’s efforts to “uphold election integrity and not allow their platform to be used to spread conspiracy theories and election lies.”
Schiff and Whitehouse also asked Meta to provide a briefing on the company’s efforts to "uphold election integrity and not allow their platform to be used to spread conspiracy theories and election lies."
( | Mykola Tys/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
“[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 wrote.
“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.”
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island. Photographer: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The social media company first moved to block Trump following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. That decision was upheld by the platform’s Oversight Board in May 2021, though the board asked Facebook to reexamine Trump’s then-“indefinite” suspension and “decide the appropriate penalty.”
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In June 2021, Meta Platforms determined it would do a suspension on his Facebook and Instagram accounts for two years ending in January 2023, at which point the company would reassess the former president’s status.
“In light of his [Trump’s] violations, he now faces heightened penalties for repeat offenses – penalties which will apply to other public figures whose accounts are reinstated from suspensions related to civil unrest under our updated protocol,” Clegg said in the blog post last week.
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Clegg acknowledged that “reasonable people” will have varying opinions on Meta’s decision to allow Trump back on its platforms.
“But a decision had to be made, so we have tried to make it as best we can in a way that is consistent with our values and the process we established in response to the Oversight Board’s guidance.”
Trump, reacting to Meta’s decision last week, posted on his Truth Social saying: “FACEBOOK, which has lost Billions of Dollars in value since ‘deplatforming’ your favorite President, me, has just announced that they are reinstating my account.”
“Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution!” Trump said.