In an unprecedented move, major social media platforms have taken steps to limit outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump’s account access.
Following the outbreak of violence in Washington D.C., Twitter and Facebook have locked out Trump’s accounts, which they say could become permanent bans.
A mob of Trump supporters swarmed the Capitol building on Wednesday, interrupting electoral vote-counting in a move widely condemned as an assault on free democratic processes.
Shortly after 4 p.m. the same day, Twitter announced that they had locked Trump’s account for 12 hours and demanded the removal of three tweets they said were “severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy.”
“If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked,” Twitter stated.
“Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.”
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
On Thursday morning, Facebook announced they had taken similar steps to limit the outgoing President’s access to their platforms.
In a statement on Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that they have locked out Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts for at least two weeks.
“[Trump’s] 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,” Zuckerberg said.
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”
The Facebook creator went on to say that the priority for the United States over the next 13 days should be to ensure a peaceful transition to President-elect Joe Biden.
He defended allowing access to Trump for several years on the basis of allowing broad access to political speech, even if that speech is controversial.
“But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government,” Zuckerberg said.
No official statement has been issued from the White House in response to the social media lockdowns.