Former President Donald Trump has reportedly petitioned Meta to restore his Facebook account. According to NBC News, the Trump campaign sent a letter to the company on Tuesday, pushing for a meeting to discuss his “prompt reinstatement to the platform.” In 2020, Facebook banned Trump following the aftermath of the January 6th Capitol riot. At first, the suspension was set to last 24 hours, but the company made the ban indefinite less than a day later. In June 2021, following a recommendation from the Oversight Board, Meta said it would revisit the suspension after two years and “evaluate” the “risk to public safety” to determine if Trump should get his account back.
Meta did not immediately respond to Engadget’s comment request. The company told NBC News it would announce a decision “in the coming weeks in line with the process we laid out.” In 2021, Meta signaled Trump’s ban wouldn’t last forever. “When the suspension is eventually lifted, Mr Trump’s account will be subject to new enhanced penalties if he violates our policies, up to and including permanent removal of his accounts,” Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, said at the time.
The letter is likely a bid by Trump to regain control of his Facebook account ahead of the 2024 presidential election. Trump has more than 34 million Facebook followers, and the platform was critical to his 2016 run. According to a Bloomberg report published after the election, the Trump campaign ran 5.9 million different versions of ads to test the ones that got the most engagement from the company’s users. Meta subsequently put a limit on high-volume advertising. One Trump Organization employee told NBC News that change prevented Trump’s 2020 campaign from using Facebook the way it did in 2016.