As the political atmosphere in the United States of America gathers momentum ahead of next year’s presidential election, interested parties have begun to pave the way for potential contenders to organize their manifestos and seek the support of the electorate.
A former US president, Donald Trump, while addressing a crowd of supporters in Texas late last year, had hinted at his desire to run for the presidency in 2024.
Meanwhile, of these key stakeholders are owners of information, communication and technology, including social media platforms. Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) falls into this category.
Meta, an American multinational technology conglomerate, has promised to restore Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts soon.
Trump’s accounts, with some 57 million followers, had been suspended after a riot broke out at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The social media handles, after their suspension had been lifted, would give the former president an opportunity to interact with his political supporters online in line with his aspiration to oust current President Joe Biden.
While her Facebook account has 34 million followers, her Instagram has 23 million.
king of investors had reported that Trump’s Twitter account had been suspended following alleged misinformation and incitement to violence.
But, after Elon Musk took over Twitter in November 2022, he reinstated Trump’s account.
Prior to the poll, free speech advocates have said it would be nice if political candidates were allowed to communicate with the public on social media.
Meanwhile, critics have accused Meta of relaxing its policies to accommodate the publication of content that is not appropriate to the standard. But, the tech conglomerate said it has created some barriers that would prevent misinformation.
Explaining how he would approach Trump’s posts going forward, Meta’s president of Global Affairs Nick Clegg said any violative content from the politician would be removed and Trump risks being suspended from one month to two years, depending of the seriousness of the crime.
However, the decision to reinstate Trump’s accounts has drawn criticism, as civil rights groups have accused Meta of exhibiting weak policies that allow derogatory content on its platforms.
Some of these defenders described the former president as a danger that must be tamed.
Some of the groups, including the Free Press, the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP, among others, said they are concerned that Facebook will not be able to neutralize potential future attacks by Trump on the democratic process.
But Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight Institute for the First Amendment at Columbia University and a former ACLU official, said the reinstatement of Trump’s accounts is warranted.
Jaffer said the reinstatement would allow members of the public the opportunity to hear directly from candidates seeking political office in the upcoming presidential election.