Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Trump is Back

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According to several news sources, former President Donald Trump has requested that Facebook lift its ban on his posts, and the former President will soon begin to post tweets on Twitter, where Elon Musk has already lifted a ban imposed under previous management.

According to those news accounts, Trump is attempting to regain control over his social media accounts as he looks to mount a comeback. His campaign formally petitioned Facebook’s parent company, Meta, to unblock his account after it was locked in response to the U.S Capitol riot two years ago.

In a letter to Meta, Trump’s campaign wrote, “We believe that the ban on President Trump’s account on Facebook has dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse.” The campaign did not threaten a lawsuit but instead talked about the importance of free speech and petitioned Meta for a “meeting to discuss President Trump’s prompt reinstatement to the platform.”

A Meta spokesperson declined to comment about Trump but stated that the company “will announce a decision in the coming weeks in line with the process we laid out.”

Facebook and Twitter banned Trump a day after his supporters stormed the Capitol and interfered with Congress as it counted the electoral votes to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential victory.

Facebook ultimately decided to institute a limited ban on Trump that would come up for review after two years, starting January 7th, 2023.

Twitter planned a permanent ban, but new owner Elon Musk reinstated Trump’s account on November 19th, 2021, and then criticized the company’s previous leadership for the ban.

Trump, however, hasn’t yet tweeted. A Republican, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations with Trump about returning to the platform, said, “Trump is probably coming back to Twitter. It’s just a question of how and when. He’s been talking about it for weeks, but Trump speaks for Trump, so it’s anyone’s guess what he’ll do or say or when.”

Another Trump confidant who didn’t want to be identified speaking about conversations with him said that Trump has sought input for weeks about hopping back on Twitter and that his campaign advisers have also workshopped ideas for his first tweet.

Some advisers said Trump might be limited in posting on other social media platforms now that he has founded his own, Truth Social. Truth Social declined to comment about any alleged limits, and a spokesman for Trump said the campaign believes he’ll be able to return to Twitter as before.

Another Trump adviser, who has spoken with him about Facebook and shared the gist of the private conversation with NBC News on condition of anonymity, said that his campaign believes Facebook will ultimately honor the two-year ban and reinstate him but that it’s prepared to engage with House Republicans who control the lower chamber of Congress to advocate on Trump’s behalf and pressure Meta. The adviser said Congress will likely examine Section 230 of the federal law affecting social media companies.

“If Facebook wants to have this fight, fine, but the House is leverage, and keeping Trump off Facebook just looks political,” the adviser said, noting that House Democrats like Adam Schiff of California told Facebook last month to keep Trump off the platform.

“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 would bring similar conspiratorial rhetoric back to Facebook, if given the chance,” Schiff wrote in a letter to Meta signed by three Democratic colleagues.

Trump’s plans to expand his social media footprint also speak to the limits of Truth Social’s reach. Trump has slightly more than 4.8 million followers on the platform, compared to nearly 88 million on Twitter and 34 million on Facebook.

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