Former US president Donald Trump has been quietly preparing to return to Twitter, and has petitioned the company behind Facebook to lift his ban on that platform as well, as he ramps up his campaign to regain the presidency in 2024.
Mr Trump, 76, was banned from both major social media sites in the wake of the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol Building for violating their guidelines and, in their view, increasing the risk of “further incitement of violence”.
Mr Trump’s Twitter account was reinstated in November 2022, less than a month after billionaire Elon Musk became the owner and CEO of the platform. His Facebook account remains suspended.
While he’s now able to tweet again, Mr Trump has refrained from doing so. His most recent post, from January 9, 2021, is still the one announcing he was not going to attend the inauguration of his successor, Joe Biden.
Trump’s Facebook account has not yet been reinstated, but his campaign is now formally petitioning to unblock his profile, NBC News reports.
“We believe that the ban on President Trump’s account on Facebook has dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse,” Mr Trump’s campaign wrote in its letter to Meta, according to a copy seen by the media outlet.
His campaign reportedly did not threaten a lawsuit, as some sources close to the former president thought. Instead the letter focused on the importance of free speech and petitioned Meta for a “meeting to discuss President Trump’s prompt reinstatement to the platform”.
A Meta spokesperson declined to comment about Mr Trump beyond saying the company “will announce a decision in the coming weeks in line with the process we laid out”.
Facebook and Twitter banned Mr Trump after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol Building and attempted to stop Congress from certifying his defeat to Mr Biden in the 2020 election.
Many of those who took part in the riot have since argued in federal court that they were whipped up by Mr Trump’s lies about the election being “stolen” from him.
Anonymous sources close to Mr Trump have confirmed that he does indeed intend to return to Twitter, despite his silence on the platform since his account was reinstated.
“Trump is probably coming back to Twitter. It’s just a question of how and when,” said a Republican, who spoke to NBC on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations with Mr Trump.
“He’s been talking about it for weeks, but Trump speaks for Trump, so it’s anyone’s guess what he’ll do or say or when.”
Another Trump confidant, who also didn’t want to be identified, said he has sought input for weeks about hopping back on Twitter and that his campaign advisers have also workshopped ideas for his first tweet.
There is still much protest about having Mr Trump’s social media accounts reinstated.
Congressman Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, told Facebook last month to keep him off the platform.
“Trump has continued to post harmful election content on Truth Social that would likely violate Facebook’s policies, and we have every reason to believe he would bring similar conspiratorial rhetoric back to Facebook, if given the chance,” he wrote in a letter to Meta. signed by three Democratic colleagues.