President Trump Loses Social Media Platform Reach: Banned From Facebook, Twitter And YouTube
Twitter struck the first blow yesterday after it removed President Trump's video that addressed the mob, which was at the time occupying the US Capitol. In the video, he called the protestors "special people" and asked for them to "go home” as they ravaged House and Senate offices and even took to the floor of the Senate. The President also continued to spread misinformation, stating that the he actually won the election and that he empathized with the mob.
“We had an election that was stolen from us,” said Trump. “It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side.”
As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy. https://t.co/k6OkjNG3bM— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 7, 2021
Twitter initially placed restrictions on the tweet which prevented it from being retweeted, liked or commented on. Not long after, the tweet was removed because it presented "a risk of violence" and violated its policies. The Trump administration posted the same video to YouTube, but the site also subsequently removed the video for similar reasons.
Facebook joined the chorus yesterday and decided to remove President Trump’s video. Guy Rosen, who serves as Facebook's VP of Integrity, took to Twitter to explain the reasoning:
This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump's video. We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.— Guy Rosen (@guyro) January 6, 2021
Following the video takedowns, both Twitter and Facebook took even further action against President Trump's social media accounts. Twitter revoked his access for 12 hours, and threatened to permanently suspend his account. Not long after, Facebook and Instagram announced 24 hour bans on President Trump's accounts.
Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 7, 2021
And then today, Facebook took the even more drastic step of banning President Trump's accounts "indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks" until President Elect Joe Biden is sworn into office. Not only was there an official statement from Facebook, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg decided to take it even further by explaining the decision on his own Facebook page.
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.
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...
But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.
We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.
It's quite astounding that we've had to come to the point to censor the President of the United States; the leader of the free world. After the events that unfolded yesterday, it was likely an untenable position for social media companies to continue operating "business as usual" with regards to how information is presented on their respective platforms.