Donald Trump suspended from Twitter, banned from Facebook and Instagram 'indefinitely' following Capitol riots
UPDATE: Twitter has permanently suspended Donald Trump's account after Wednesday's violent riots in Washington, DC. The news comes a day after his accounts were banned from Facebook and Instagram "indefinitely."
"After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," Twitter announced on Friday. "In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action. Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open. However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules and cannot use Twitter to incite violence. We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement."
EARLIER: In the aftermath of Wednesday's volatile riots on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., by Donald Trump supporters, the on-his-way-out president has been formally banned from Facebook and Instagram, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday.
Trump used social media to egg on those supporters who stormed the Capitol building as the Senate debated the Electoral College votes; took over the Senate floor; looted; and infiltrated offices of politicians, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In a statement shared on his Facebook page, Zuckerberg said allowing Trump to continue to use the company's platforms would come with "too great" a risk. Therefore, the block on both his Facebook and Instagram accounts have been extended "indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete."
"The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden," Zuckerberg said. "His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world. We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect—and likely their intent—would be to provoke further violence."
"Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies," he added. "We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech. But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government."
Prior to the Capitol riots — which left four people dead, according to CNBC, and many more, including police, injured — Trump held a rally nearby at The Ellipse, where he trashed Vice President Mike Pence for not striking down the electoral votes that would cement Biden as the next president. He then called the outcome of the 2020 election "this egregious assault on our democracy" and urged his supporters to "walk down to the Capitol," as reported by The New York Times. His lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, then called for a "trial by combat" to secure the election for Trump.
Later that day, after his supporters overwhelmed law enforcement and pushed into the Capitol building, Trump used social media to support them. In a series of tweets, he asked "everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence!" Though, he also continued to spread falsities about the election. "Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify," he tweeted. "USA demands the truth!"
This, along with a video he shared on social media that called the rioters as "very special people," were removed from various platforms. Twitter banned him from the service for a 12-hour period, which lifted Thursday morning.
"If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked," read tweets from the official Twitter Safety account. "Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account."
Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey were criticized in the past for allowing Trump to use their platforms over the past four years of his presidency to spread disinformation. Both Twitter and Facebook have flagged certain statements from Trump's accounts as false or misleading, but he was still able to spread them to his followers. Many question whether these latest actions are too little too late.
Given Trump's Twitter ban, Dan Scavino, White House deputy chief of staff for communications, released a statement from the president on his own Twitter account. "Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th," the statement reads. "I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it's only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!"
These claims about the facts bearing him out and "the greatest first term in presidential history" are disputed.