In reaction to Meta’s decision to allow Donald Trump to return to Facebook and Instagram following a two-year suspension for inciting the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America, issued the following statement:
In order for Meta to let Donald Trump back on Facebook and Instagram, it had to disregard one of the very real criteria the company said it would consider – his off-platform postings. For months, Trump’s Truth Social account has shown us exactly how he’d use Facebook if let back on the platform. He has promoted what Facebook describes as a ‘militarized’ movement hundreds of times, and in the week after the midterm elections, nearly half (48%) of Trump's posts on Truth Social amplified QAnon-promoting accounts or pushed election misinformation.
Make no mistake – by allowing Donald Trump back on its platforms, Meta is refueling Trump’s misinformation and extremism engine. This not only will have an impact on Instagram and Facebook users, but it also presents intensified threats to civil society and an existential threat to U.S. democracy as a whole. Let’s be clear – without Facebook’s algorithm amplifying hate and misinformation, Donald Trump would have never won the presidency in 2016 or been able to radicalize thousands to lead a deadly insurrection on the U.S. Capitol in 2021.
Meta knows the impact of bringing Trump back – the company knows he will turn Facebook and Instagram into a cesspool of hate, violence, and extremism – but it doesn’t care. Facebook is a dying platform, and Meta will do anything to cling to relevance and revenue – even if that means endangering its users and our democracy.
The fact that Meta’s announcement comes with a caveat that it needs to delay its implementation to develop new technology to contain Trump’s lies and hate tells you all you need to know.
But for Facebook and Instagram’s users and major brands, the lesson is simple: Meta’s containment strategy will fail – and your brand, your feed, and frankly your country will be worse off for it.