Donald Trump reinstated on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
Yahoo Finance tech reporter Allie Garfinkle discusses what Donald Trump's reinstatement on social media platforms means for Meta and Twitter.
RACHELLE AKUFFO: Meta is ending former president Donald Trump's Facebook suspension, saying in a statement that his Instagram and Facebook accounts will return in the coming weeks, though just because he's reinstated, it doesn't mean he will return. For more on Meta's decision and its impact to the social media landscape, let's get to Yahoo Finance's Allie Garfinkle. Now we know he was also invited back to Twitter-- didn't seem to be interested in that. So where do things stand here, then, with Meta?
ALLIE GARFINKLE: Yeah, Rachelle, I'll be completely honest with you here. I'm sort of struggling to take the temperature on this moment. Because on one hand, it feels almost a little anticlimactic. It's been a few years. And he sort of has been invited back, as it were. But on the other hand, it feels high stakes, and the takes are flying. And I think it's important to run through those takes just a little bit because from the legal side, what we have is this renewed conversation about the definition of town square.
Now, some legal experts are telling me that in terms of Trump's constitutional rights to free speech, this could be the right call on Meta's part, if you believe Meta is running a digital town square. However, to others, since Meta is a private company, this isn't a public town square they're running. It's a private business. So you already have that legal side of it. And going beyond that, it's as thorny as you'd expect. I have advocates telling me that they're worried this will increase Trump's reach through 2024 as the election grows closer. And even one professor I was speaking to was saying that we need to remember that this could give Trump a powerful fundraising tool.
However, I think it's important to say Meta was very equivocal in this. They're not giving him free rein here. They've said that they will be monitoring him closely and that there will be what they call guardrails. And I will say those guardrails are very necessary. We have to remember the reason he was banned in the first place. And that was the events of January 6.
RACHELLE AKUFFO: So then, I mean, what happens next here? Because he may or may not decide to hop on these, but it's hard to imagine he doesn't get back on these platforms when you think about his presidential aspirations.
ALLIE GARFINKLE: I think it's really unclear, Rachelle, right? But on one hand, it would make sense. But on the other, he has Truth Social. And we now just because he's reinstated, though, doesn't mean he will leave Truth Social. It doesn't mean he'll return to these platforms. For instance, as you said earlier, Elon Musk reinstated him to Twitter a while back. And he has opted to stay off the platform so far.
So I think where this could get interesting is, it could be a huge story over time. We could see things go back. We could see renewed efforts at content moderation. One expert I was speaking to said that this was-- as scary as this was for him personally, this was also an opportunity to reimagine how content moderation can work for someone with the profile of Donald Trump. In the end, though this could be a major story, there could also be radio silence.
RACHELLE AKUFFO: It's true. I don't know. Trump and silence don't usually go hand in hand, especially with how much might be at stake in 2024. But stranger things have happened.
ALLIE GARFINKLE: It's not his strength, but we'll see.
RACHELLE AKUFFO: We'll keep an eye on that. Indeed. Allie Garfinkle there. Thank you so much for that update.