Donald Trump has returned to Facebook.
(Bloomberg) — Donald Trump has returned to Facebook.
The former president posted on Meta Platforms Inc.’s social-media platform for the first time since 2021 as he intensifies his comeback campaign to the White House. “I’M BACK!,” he wrote.
Attached to the post was a 12-second video clip from his 2016 election night victory speech. Standing alongside then-Vice President elect Mike Pence, and Trump’s youngest son, Barron, he said “Sorry to keep you waiting. Complicated business.”
Meta reinstated Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in January following a two-year suspension. The company had prevented Trump from posting on its platforms after he encouraged supporters to march on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in what became a deadly attempt to stop the counting of Electoral College votes for Joe Biden.
The ban was temporary at first, but was changed to an indefinite suspension the following day.
Facebook’s restoration of Trump’s access gave him the ability to resume posting to his 35 million followers — something he had previously done sometimes dozens of times per day. The company in reinstating the former president said that the public safety risk present in January 2021 had subsided and that his accounts would be subject to “guardrails,” and specific penalties if he broke their rules in the future.
More important, his campaign is also able to buy ads again to raise funds with direct appeals, or by capturing users’ contact information to solicit them directly.
Trump’s return to Facebook restores part of his ability to drive the national conversation through social media — which he did almost daily during the 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns and throughout his presidency. He used Facebook and Twitter.Inc.’s platform for everything from insulting rivals to announcing major policy decisions.
Trump was reinstated to Twitter by the company’s new owner and chief executive officer, Elon Musk, in November, though he has not resumed tweeting.
Trump also has his own social-media site, Truth Social and has said he will stick with that platform. Yet few analysts believe Trump can resist the lure of Twitter, where he had more than 87 million followers compared with about 5 million on Truth Social.
Facebook posts don’t have the immediacy or reach of his more famous tweets but still provide Trump with an important megaphone during his bid to retake the White House in 2024.
Trump’s return to Facebook comes with the former president in a more weakened political state. He was blamed by Republicans for the party’s lackluster performance in last November’s midterm elections after many of his handpicked candidates went down to defeat. Polls also show a sizable number of Republican voters eager to embrace an alternative standard bearer in the primaries.
Still Facebook’s most loyal users are older people, many of whom are receptive to his messaging and reliable voters, a potential advantage to Trump in the primary.
Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said in 2021 when he suspended Trump’s account that “the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”
Political leaders receive special treatment on Facebook because the company considers what they say to be inherently newsworthy. All users are held to the same set of rules, but political leaders receive less severe punishments for breaking those rules, and their offending posts are rarely removed.
Facebook doesn’t typically fact-check politicians, but it does correct posts from former politicians, meaning it’s likely that Trump’s posts could be reviewed by Facebook’s fact-checking partners.
–With assistance from Kurt Wagner.
(Updates with new details, background, from third paragraph.)
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.