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Meta’s decision to restore Donald Trump to his former Facebook glory met sharp resistance from racial justice organizations across the country. Many see the return of Trump to social media as an open invitation to use his platform to spread disinformation and incite violence.  

Even before Trump’s account was restored, news outlets reported that Facebook would not fact-check the former president as he was once again a candidate for office. Janai S. Nelson, President and Director-Counsel at the Legal Defense Fund, called Trump’s pending return a threat to “the rights and safety of millions of Americans, the viability of the U.S. Constitution, and the future of American democracy itself will all be placed in even greater danger than they are today.” 

“Despite Meta’s originally expressed hope that its suspension would ‘be significant enough to be a deterrent to Mr. Trump,’ the former president has spent the last two years waging a campaign to demonize two innocent Black elections administrators, spread falsehoods about the 2020 elections, and suggest that those who are being held accountable for participating in the January 6 insurrection are victims of a plot,” Nelson said.  

“Mr. Trump has even gone so far as to share an image of himself overlaid with the phrase ‘The Storm Is Coming’ — a reference to the QAnon conspiracy theory, which holds that, on the day of ‘the storm,’ a reinstated President Trump will arrest, try, and possibly execute his political rivals. While Meta Vice President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg claims in his statement justifying the reinstatement that ‘the risk’ represented by Mr. Trump’s demagoguery ‘has sufficiently receded,’ Mr. Trump appears to be no different than he has been before the suspension. 

“There are no countervailing legal or ethical claims that compel Meta to reinstate Trump’s access to its influential platforms,” she continued. “Rather, this was a corporate decision that endangers many Facebook and Instagram users, as well as the public at large.”

Nelson said her organization urged Meta to “reverse this reckless, unjustifiable, and irresponsible decision.”  

Mariana Ruiz-Firmat, executive director of Kairos Action, echoed the sentiment in a statement challenging Meta’s reluctance to intervene on behalf of global democracies. 

“We saw the impact of this two years ago in the U.S. on January 6, and we’re seeing it again now in Brazil as far-right believers of a stolen election attempt a coup,” Ruiz-Firmat said. “What threads the needle between this decision and what’s happened in Brazil, Ethiopia and other countries is that the destabilization of global democracies benefits Meta’s bottom line. Authoritarians like Trump and Bolsonaro and social media billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg are two sides of the same coin that rely on each other to advance their far-right agenda and maintain power.”

Ruiz-Firmat further called out Meta for prioritizing profits over the safety and well-being of Black and other marginalized communities. Color of Change president Rashad Robinson also raised similar concerns. He also challenged the lack of transparency and accountability in the decision to restore Trump.   

“If leaders in Congress don’t step up to regulate platforms like Facebook that enable the limitless amplification of lies, hate and violence, we will continue to see cowardly decisions from CEOs like Zuckerberg who think first about protecting profits and second — if at all — about protecting people’s lives,” Robinson said. ”The problem isn’t just Facebook’s irresponsible decision to reactivate Trump and make the rest of us pay for the damage he causes. It’s that this decision is being made by a single person who is not accountable to anyone in a tech sector that is barely regulated. 

Robinson called on congressional leaders to adopt the organization’s Black Tech Agenda to act where Zuckerberg and Twitter’s CEO Elon Musk have failed.  

“Facebook claims its newest set of rules for Trump will be different, but these commitments mean nothing when the company has already gutted its election team, reducing it from 300 employees to merely 60,” Robinson said. “A self-regulated corporation is an unregulated corporation. We need Congress to act now.” 


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