Donald Trump is Back in the “Meta” Verse: The Real Question is What Will He Do Next?

Donald Trump has officially been let back onto Instagram and Facebook. What does this mean for the 2024 presidential election?

News & Politics

Former President Trump has officially had his Instagram and Twitter accounts reinstated, despite an original ban by Meta until January of 2024. This has created many conversations about why Meta has allowed Trump back onto their social platforms. Is this due to his likely run in the 2024 election? What does this decision mean for the ignition of harmful rhetoric? 

 The decision by Meta to allow the former President back on their platform came in late January.   According to Meta’s June 2021 response by their VP of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, the Oversight Board of Facebook in May of 2021 decided to suspend Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts “following his praise for people engaged in violence at the Capitol on January 6th.” Facebook at the time, now Meta, announced that Trump’s Instagram and Facebook accounts would be suspended for two years: a ban that became effective on January 7th of 2022. The company also stated that at the end of the period, they would look to experts to decide whether Trump should be allowed back on their social platforms and the public safety effects of allowing him back onto them. 

Meta’s justification for allowing Trump onto their platforms goes back to their original statement stating his “serious risk to public safety has sufficiently receded”. While this is Meta’s official response to reinstating Trump, many believe part of this discussion is due to criticism against Meta that the lack of Trump on both Instagram and Facebook has hurt the public discourse and not allowed him to campaign properly, which is what was said by Trump’s campaign in their petition to Meta.  

Despite his being reinstated Trump has yet to post on Instagram. This last Friday he posted for the first time on Facebook with a video of him at a 2016 election party with the caption “I’m back". There is anticipation brewing as the public asks what his next posts will be and first Instagram post. Despite his acceptance back onto the platforms. Nick Clegg states that former President Trump now “faces heightened penalties for repeat offenses.” If Trump posts anything that incites violence he will be suspended for between a month to two years, depending on the gravity of his post and the effects of the content on public safety. 

I believe that President Trump’s communication and public relations team for the first time in a long time has a hold on the former President. He has finally gained back two platforms, specifically Facebook, that are massive fundraisers for his 2024 presidential bid. Beyond fundraisers, target ads on Facebook are heavily utilized to push a campaign’s message. The Trump Campaign has just over 94 million targeted Facebook ads for the 2020 campaign. It would greatly hurt his campaign and potentially cost him another election if he is not able to target voters via social media.  Trump was able to essentially win a presidential bid based on his social media presence. Both he and his teams know these platforms are critical for his success. However, how will former President Trump succeed when he can no longer stir the internet on social media platforms? Most importantly what will his next move on these platforms be? Only time will tell and so will either another very interesting presidential election or his potential arrest.