Donald Trump wants to move back into the White House in 2024. He could use more online reach for the election campaign. Now he is testing the return to the world’s largest online network.

Former US President Donald Trump is using one of the major online platforms again after months of reluctance. “I’m back!” Trump wrote on Facebook for a short video clip showing him winning the 2016 election.

The world’s largest online network let him back onto the platform at the end of January – a good two years after his supporters violently stormed the US Capitol. Trump initially preferred to continue mobilizing his supporters through his own Twitter copy, Truth Social.

On Friday, too, he initially left it on Facebook with the scarce sign of life, while he distributed appeals for donations and pictures of a demonstration by his supporters at Trump Tower in New York on Truth Social, among other things.

34 million followers on Facebook

Trump wants to run as a Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential election and has to win the party’s internal primaries to do so. More online reach would be convenient for him. He has almost five million subscribers to Truth Social and 34 million to Facebook.

Trump was banned from major online platforms near the end of his term after his supporters stormed the US House of Representatives in Washington on January 6, 2021. Before the unprecedented events, he had goaded his supporters with the unfounded claim that he had been cheated out of the 2020 presidential election. In his online messages before and after the Capitol attack, he openly showed sympathy for the rioters. The platform operators feared that there could be new violence if Trump is not banned.

More severe penalties are imposed for repeated violations

Trump has since regained access to all major online services, where he still has millions of followers. The YouTube video platform lifted the restrictions on Trump’s account on Friday. His Twitter account was reactivated in the fall at the behest of new owner Elon Musk. However, the last tweet there so far is still from January 2021. Before and during his tenure in the White House, Twitter was Trump’s most important mouthpiece, where he had more than 80 million followers before the ban and achieved worldwide attention with his messages.

However, the Facebook group Meta and the video platform YouTube emphasize that the same rules apply to Trump’s account as to others. At Meta it was said in January that violations threatened him with harsher penalties as a repeat offender – he could be banned for one month to two years. At Truth Social, Trump keeps making statements that would violate Meta’s rules against insults, among other things.

The Facebook group initially banned Trump until further notice. But Meta’s independent oversight body, which can review content and account decisions, ultimately concluded that an indefinite ban was not covered by the platform’s rules. It decided that Trump’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram could initially only be blocked for two years – and then had to be reassessed.