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Former President Donald Trump announced his return to Facebook Friday afternoon, sharing a message in his signature all-caps style on the social media platform more than two years after he was banned.
“I’M BACK!” Trump, 76, posted to his more than 34 million followers above a video that showed him celebrating his upset victory in 2016.
“Sorry to keep you waiting, complicated business,” the ex-commander in chief had crowed from a New York City watch party after his defeat of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Meta Platforms, which owns Facebook and Instagram, announced on Jan. 25 that it would reinstate Trump’s access to his accounts, saying the public should be allowed to hear from politicians, but that Trump would be subject to “heightened penalties” for repeated violations of its rules.
Nick Clegg, Meta’s president for global affairs and a former UK deputy prime minister, said the company added “new guardrails” to prepare for Trump’s return and was ready “to deter repeat offenses” from the former POTUS.
“Social media is rooted in the belief that open debate and the free flow of ideas are important values,” he said in a statement. “As a general rule, we don’t want to get in the way of open, public and democratic debate on Meta’s platforms — especially in the context of elections in democratic societies like the United States.”
Despite Trump’s reinstatement, it had been unclear whether he would post on the accounts.
Reports in January showed the former president was eager to return, however, citing the termination of an exclusive relationship with his own social media platform, Truth Social, which he launched after being kicked off mainstream platforms in the wake of the Jan. 6th Capitol riot.
Even after billionaire Elon Musk acquired Twitter and reinstated his account, Trump also could have lost millions of dollars had he chosen to tweet, due to the Truth Social agreement.
But Trump also attacked Facebook from his Truth Social account, saying the company had “lost Billions of Dollars in value since ‘deplatforming’ your favorite President, me.”
“Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution! THANK YOU TO TRUTH SOCIAL FOR DOING SUCH AN INCREDIBLE JOB. YOUR GROWTH IS OUTSTANDING, AND FUTURE UNLIMITED!!!” he said just days after Facebook said it was moving forward with plans to reinstate his account.
Facebook and Instagram are key vehicles for reaching voters and fundraising and could give a boost to Trump, who will make another run for the presidency in 2024. Trump had 23 million followers on Instagram and 34 million on Facebook as of Feb. 9.
Trump will be seeking a second term in his third run for the White House amid a potentially crowded field of GOP candidates, including his former Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, 51, and heavily expected challenger Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, 44.