Meta says he won’t punish Trump for attacking the 2020 election results. But the 2024 vote is a different story

Meta says he won’t punish Trump for attacking the 2020 election results. But the 2024 vote is a different story


New York
CNN

Nine minutes after Meta announced that it will allow Donald Trump to return to its platforms, the disgraced former president was on his own app Truth Social posting about supposed electoral fraud in the 2020 election.

It’s nothing unusual for Trump. A research report published by the watchdog group Accountable Tech earlier this month found that Trump had written more than 200 posts containing “harmful election-related disinformation” since he was kicked out of Meta’s platforms.

But now, again, Trump is Meta’s problem. The social media giant announced Wednesday, unsurprisingly, that Trump will be allowed back on Facebook and Instagram, setting the stage for several calls to moderate sensitive content in the coming weeks, months and years.

And those content moderation calls are likely to be controversial.

For example, a Meta spokesperson said that Trump will be allowed to attack the results of the 2020 election without consequences for the company. However, the spokesperson said that if Trump were to cast doubt on an upcoming election — such as the 2024 presidential race — the social giant would take action. In those cases, Meta may limit the distribution of the infringing post or restrict access to advertising tools.

A version of this article was first published in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. Sign up for a daily summary of the changing media landscape here.

But attacks on the 2020 election will only cast doubt on the integrity of future elections. And Meta will surely face scrutiny for his high-stakes decisions on the issue as Trump approaches the inevitable line.

But this is just one aspect of the murky content moderation waters that Meta finds itself in. As Accountable Tech noted in its report, Trump has posted some things in recent years on Truth Social that would violate the company’s community standards in recent years. Accountable Tech found that Trump attacked racial minorities (remember when he posted that racist attack last year on Elaine Chao?) and propagated the bogus QAnon conspiracy theory to his followers more than 100 times.

And then there will certainly be the incomprehensible, anti-democratic comments that Trump makes on Facebook that, despite how ugly they may be, do not completely violate the company’s rules, but which arouse outrage and expose Meta to the public . For example, last week, Trump raved on Truth Social that he believed Politico’s reporters, and possibly editors, should scoop the Roe v. decision. Wade leaked to jail until they reveal their sources.

Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Meta, previewed how the company will respond to those nasty posts when he announced – and especially not Mark Zuckerberg – that Trump was back. Clegg argued that “the reality is that people will always say all kinds of things on the internet.”

“As we allow people to speak, even when what they have to say is horrible or factually incorrect,” Clegg added. “Democracy is determined and people should be able to express their voice. We believe that it is necessary and possible to draw a line between content that is harmful and should be removed, and content that, however unpleasant or inaccurate, is part of the hustle and bustle of life in a free society.”

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