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Trump campaign asks Meta to reverse Facebook, Instagram suspensions

New York Post logo: MainLogo New York Post 1/18/2023 Jesse O’Neill

Former President Donald Trump is lobbying Meta to get back on Facebook and Instagram in order to boost his third consecutive run for the White House.

The 76-year-old Republican’s 2024 campaign petitioned parent company Meta to unlock Trump’s accounts and allow him to post directly to his 34 million followers on Facebook and 25 million followers on Instagram after he was suspended from the platforms the day after the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot.

“[W]e believe that the ban on President Trump’s account on Facebook has dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse,” campaign general counsel Scott Gast wrote in a Tuesday letter obtained by The Post and addressed to Meta executives Mark Zuckerberg, Nick Clegg, and Joel Kaplan.

© Provided by New York Post Meta Platforms Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg had banned Trump due to fears he would “provoke further violence” after his supporters violently stormed the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.REUTERS

“We also believe that a continued ban would basically constitute … a deliberate effort by a private company to silence Mr. Trump’s political voice,” Gast continued. “Moreover, every day that President Trump’s political voice remains silenced furthers an inappropriate interference in the American political and election process.”

Clegg, the former deputy British prime minister and Meta’s president of global affairs, announced in June 2021 that Trump’s ban from Twitter and Instagram would last for an initial two-year period, at which point “we will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded.”

Trump has already been reinstated on Twitter — his preferred social network when he was president — by the platform’s new owner Elon Musk. However, he has yet to tweet to his 88 million followers there.

In contrast to his large following on the big three social media platforms, Trump has fewer than five million followers on Truth Social, which he launched last year in response to being booted from the widely used sites.

A Trump confidant told NBC News that the former president had been talking to advisers for weeks about making a splashy return to Twitter, and aides had workshopped ideas for his initial message.

“Trump is probably coming back to Twitter. It’s just a question of how and when,” another Republican source reportedly said.

Meanwhile, if Meta decides to extend its ban on Trump beyond the initial two years, NBC reported the campaign would deploy House Republicans to pressure the tech company on its behalf.

“If Facebook wants to have this fight, fine, but the House is leverage, and keeping Trump off Facebook just looks political,” an adviser to the former president told the network.

Four Congressional Democrats penned a letter to Meta last month urging the company to keep Trump on mute.

© Provided by New York Post A mobile billboard, deployed by Accountable Tech, is seen outside the Meta Headquarters on in Menlo Park, California on Jan. 17 as the company considers lifting Trump’s suspension.Getty Images for Accountable Tec

“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,” read the letter, which was led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and co-signed by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.).

Zuckerburg, Meta’s CEO, has admitted that Trump had run afoul of the company’s speech rules before, but said he had been allowed to stay on the site because “the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech.”

Trump utilized Facebook advertising with great success during his successful 2016 bid, running 5.9 million different microtargeted advertisements, compared to only 66,000 run by his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, according to Bloomberg News.

By 2020, Facebook had limited high-volume advertising, which a former campaign worker reportedly said had curtailed Trump’s influence on the site.


New York Post

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