Donald Trump
Donald TrumpREUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Former US President Donald Trump's campaign is formally petitioning Facebook’s parent company, Meta, to unblock his account there after it was locked in response to the US Capitol riot two years ago, NBC News reported on Wednesday.

“We believe that the ban on President Trump’s account on Facebook has dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse,” Trump’s campaign wrote in a letter sent to Meta on Tuesday and which was reviewed by NBC News.

Trump’s campaign didn’t threaten a lawsuit, as some sources close to Trump thought he would. It instead talked about 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 Trump beyond saying the company “will announce a decision in the coming weeks in line with the process we laid out.”

Facebook banned Trump from the platform in the wake of the January 6, 2021, riots on the US Capitol, claiming Trump had encouraged the riots.

In May of 2021, the Facebook Oversight Board — an independent group which reviews Facebook’s thorniest content rulings — affirmed the decision to suspend Trump.

Meta has previously said it will decide whether to allow Trump to return by January 7, 2023. However, a person with knowledge of the deliberations told The Financial Times earlier this month that the decision is now expected to be announced later in the month.

Facebook and Instagram were two among a host of platforms which banned Trump after the Capitol riots. Google suspended Trump's YouTube channel, Reddit banned some pro-Trump forums, and Snapchat permanently banned Trump on the day he left office.

Twitter also permanently suspended Trump’s account in the wake of the January 6, 2021 riots. However, its new owner, Elon Musk, reinstated Trump’s account in November. Trump has yet to resume tweeting, but his advisers believe he will do so as he ramps up his 2024 presidential campaign.

One Trump adviser, who has spoken with him about Facebook and shared the gist of the private conversation with NBC News on condition of anonymity, said that his campaign believes Facebook will ultimately honor the two-year ban and reinstate him but that it’s prepared to engage with House Republicans who control the lower chamber of Congress to advocate on Trump’s behalf and pressure Meta. The adviser said Congress is likely to examine Section 230 of the federal law affecting social media companies.