Twitter has suspended President Trump’s account for 12 hours, warning that doing so could result in a permanent ban. Facebook has blocked its account around the clock for two violations.
The lockdowns follow a brutally historic day in the nation’s capital. Supporters of President Trump stormed the main building during a joint congressional session for the solemn counting of the 2020 election votes. House and Senate members were taken to an undisclosed location.
During the stalemate, the president used his social media account in a way that social media platforms encouraged rather than discouraged the ongoing violence. After Twitter posted numerous warnings and removed metrics, likes, and responses for engagements, it took unprecedented measures: The company suspended Trump’s account until it removed the offensive tweets, plus another 12 hours.
Twitter also warned that if the president breached the policy again, he could be permanently banned. “Future violations of Twitter rules, including our civil integrity or violent threats policy, will result in your @ realDonaldTrump account being permanently banned,” added Twitter.
It’s also the first time Twitter has completely removed Trump’s posts, though they are often hidden behind warning signs that users can click through to read them. The company has made exceptions for world leaders and other politicians who feel they are in the public interest. Typically, posts that violate the rules are hidden and not completely removed unless they pose an imminent threat.
The action by Twitter followed a similar action by Facebook, in which the social media company first removed a number of Trump posts and described this as an “emergency situation”. Facebook then raised a 24-hour block after it found “two policy violations”. The president had recorded a video message from the rose garden in which he repeated unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud. Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube removed the video.
“We removed it because we believe it helps rather than reduces the risk of persistent violence,” said Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vp of Integrity. Facebook also said it would remove all posts from users praising the storming of the Capitol, inciting armed protests in the US, inciting violence, promoting pictures or videos of protesters at the event, calling for protests against the curfew in Washington, or additional attempts at violence in the coming days.
The Capitol was secured around 6 p.m. ET. Congress convened shortly after 8 p.m. ET. After several members had spoken, voting was resumed.