This illustration photo show the Facebook page of former President Donald Trump on a smartphone screen in Los Angeles, March 17, 2023.
Chris Delmas | AFP | Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump posted to Facebook on Friday for the first time since the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, which had prompted the social media giant to put a two-year ban on the then-president’s account.
Trump, whose Facebook account was reinstated in January, was expected to return to the Meta-owned platform and Twitter after both companies lifted their suspensions of his profiles.
Trump’s 2024 Republican presidential campaign had formally petitioned Meta to restore his Facebook account. But until the Friday afternoon post, Trump had stuck to his own platform, Truth Social, as the outlet of choice for his campaign announcements and calumnies against his political foes.
“I’M BACK!” Trump wrote in all caps in the new Facebook post, above a 12-second video showing the former president speaking at a victory party on the night of his 2016 election win over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“Sorry to keep you waiting – complicated business. Complicated,” Trump said in that clip.
The post was Trump’s first since the day of the Capitol riot, when a violent mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol and temporarily derailed lawmakers’ efforts to confirm President Joe Biden‘s 2020 election victory.
At least 1,000 people, many of whom were spurred by false claims of widespread election fraud that Trump had spent the previous months spreading, have been arrested on charges related to the riot, according to the Department of Justice.
The 13 previous messages from Trump’s Facebook account were posted on Jan. 6, 2021. The most recent one shows Trump calling on his supporters in the Capitol to “remain peaceful.”
Two posts before that, Trump slammed his own vice president, Mike Pence, for lacking “the courage to do what should have been done” after Pence refused to participate in Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss by rejecting key Electoral College votes.
Earlier Friday, YouTube said it would lift its own restrictions on Trump’s account, allowing it to post new videos.
A day after the Capitol riot, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Trump would be suspended from Facebook, writing, “We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.” The company said in June 2021 that Trump would remain banned for two years.
The Republican former president is seeking the White House again in 2024 and currently holds an overwhelming polling lead among the few other candidates who are officially running in the GOP primary so far.
In January, Meta said it would reinstate Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, explaining in a lengthy blog post that “we default to letting people speak, even when what they have to say is distasteful or factually wrong.”
Twitter, which Elon Musk bought in a $44 billion deal last fall, moved to revive Trump’s account after the website’s new CEO conducted an unscientific Twitter poll on the question.