Donald Trump could run for president, but he can’t use Facebook yet.
The social media platform has no plans to reinstate Trump’s account following the former president’s announcement that he will seek a second term in the White House, the company confirmed Wednesday. Trump was kicked off Facebook after the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol.
However, Trump may not have to wait long to return to the site. His suspension from Facebook is expected to be reconsidered in January, two years after it was first imposed.
One change will be immediate: as a candidate, Trump will no longer be subject to Facebook fact checks. That’s because according to Facebook’s rules, comments from elected officials and candidates for office aren’t fact-checked on his site. The Associated Press participates in Facebook’s independent fact-checking program.
During his tenure as president, Trump’s use of social media has posed a significant challenge for major social media platforms as they balance the public’s need to listen to their elected leaders with concerns about misinformation, harassment and incitement to violence.
After the January 6 riot, Trump was also kicked out of Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook’s parent company Meta. Trump’s ability to post videos on his YouTube channel has been suspended.
YouTube spokeswoman Ivy Choi said Wednesday that the company has no plans to lift the suspension.
Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, said he disagreed with the platform’s decision to block Trump after the January 6 attack. Musk said no announcement will be made about restoring banned users until a content moderation board looks into the issue
Twitter did not respond to questions about whether Trump’s candidacy will impact the decision. Since his suspension, Trump has started his own social media platform, TruthSocial, and said he has no plans to rejoin Twitter if allowed.
The platforms would be justified if they extended their restrictions on Trump or made them permanent, said Heidi Beirich, founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism and a member of the Real Facebook Oversight Board, a group that has criticized Meta’s response to extremist content and disinformation.
“The big problem is treating candidates like they’re in a special category and deserve special treatment,” Beirich said. “If you have a set of rules, it should apply to everyone. The decision shouldn’t be a struggle.
Facebook initially placed a 24-hour suspension on Trump’s account on Jan. 6 after he praised rioters who stormed the Capitol. Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced an indefinite suspension on Jan. 7, adding that “the risks of allowing the president to continue using our service during this time are just too great.”
The company’s quasi-independent supervisory board upheld the ban but ordered Facebook to set a time limit. The ban is now set to expire on January 7, 2023.