Former President Donald Trump has formally petitioned Meta, the parent company of Facebook, to reinstate his account, more than two years since he was banned from the platform.
Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign sent a letter on his behalf pleading for the company to lift the indefinite suspension that was imposed on his account after the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement at the time.
Trump was banned from numerous other platforms for his violent rhetoric regarding the Capitol attack. Twitter recently reinstated Trump’s previously banned account after multi-billionaire Elon Musk purchased the platform for $44 billion.
In the two months since his Twitter account was reinstated, Trump has not made any posts. At the time of his reinstatement, he said that he wouldn’t return to Twitter because he liked his own social media site, the fledgling Truth Social, “better.”
“I like Elon, but I’m staying on Truth,” Trump told Fox News Digital in October.
But the letter to Meta from Trump’s presidential campaign suggests that the former president may be reconsidering.
Facebook reviewed its ban of Trump months after it was implemented and decided that the company would reevaluate whether he could return in January 2023.
In their letter to Meta, which was obtained by NBC News, Trump’s campaign said that it would be beneficial for the public if his account were reinstated, since he is now a declared presidential contender.
“We believe that the ban on President Trump’s account on Facebook has dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse,” Trump’s campaign wrote, adding that they would be open to a meeting with Meta officials to discuss his “prompt reinstatement to the platform.”
A decision to continue the ban would be viewed as a “deliberate effort by a private company to silence Mr. Trump’s political voice,” Trump’s campaign said.
A spokesperson for Meta refused to comment on Trump’s request, but told NBC News that the company would “announce a decision in the coming weeks in line with the process we laid out.”
Internet safety experts have expressed concern that allowing Trump to return to Facebook could result in additional violence inspired by the former president’s rhetoric.
“Trump’s behavior and language have gotten significantly worse and more extreme since he was first suspended from the Facebook platform,” James Steyer, founder of the online safety website Common Sense Media, said to The Guardian. “Permitting him to return now would be a serious affront to our democracy and to Meta’s own publicly declared standards.”
“The ban should be made permanent,” Steyer added.