Facebook won’t rush the review of its Donald Trump ban

Facebook won’t rush to review its decision to ban Donald Trump even if the former president announces he’s running for office again in the coming weeks, according to a new report from Politico on Tuesday.

In an interview with Politico, Nick Clegg, president of global affairs for Meta, Facebook’s parent company, said that the company would maintain its January 7th, 2023, date for reaching a decision on whether to reinstate Trump’s accounts. On Wednesday, Meta confirmed to The Verge that the timetable had not changed.

The news comes as Trump is expected to run for president once again in 2024 and could reportedly announce his candidacy prior to this year’s November midterm elections. An early announcement could complicate the ongoing investigations by both the FBI and January 6th committee, rallying the former president’s supporters and Republican lawmakers to support him. But if Trump’s announcement comes before January 7th, it could put Facebook in the awkward position of maintaining its ban on the presumptive presidential nominee of a major party.

Trump has been banned from Facebook and Instagram since the deadly January 6th attack on the Capitol last year. At the time, Facebook said that Trump’s posts leading up to and during the riot violated the company’s incitement of violence policy. Most major social media platforms, including Twitter, removed official Trump accounts that week. In a blog post, Twitter said its suspension was “permanent,” and YouTube has said it would remove the ban when the risk of violence inspired by his account decreases.

Clegg’s comments came as Meta released its plan to tackle election misinformation across its social media platforms and advertising business on Tuesday. Meta’s midterms plan largely mirrors its protocols used throughout the 2020 election, like removing misinformation related to voting dates, locations, and times, according to the company’s Tuesday blog post.

Clegg also said that Facebook is preparing to combat content related to the integrity of US election systems.

“While some of the challenges in 2020 were unique, we are once again prepared to respond to content discussing the integrity of the election by applying labels that connect people with reliable information,” Clegg wrote. “In the 2020 election cycle we received feedback from users that these labels were over-used, so in the event that we do need to deploy them this time round our intention is to do so in a targeted and strategic way.”

While Meta faced a deluge of election criticism last cycle, other social media platforms have recently unveiled their midterm plans this week. TikTok released its in-app Election Center on Wednesday and is emphasizing its ban against political advertising, including influencer content made in paid partnership with political groups. Twitter is bringing back its tools to take down false and misleading information, and Google is launching a new program for politicians to bypass Gmail’s spam filters.

In an attempt to reclaim his formidable online audience, Trump partnered with Rumble’s parent company to build his own platform called Truth Social last year. Despite the platform’s official launch in February, Trump has been unable to accrue the sizable followings he had across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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