Facebook, Twitter, YouTube remove Trump video on Capitol riots

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Social media giants took action Wednesday to remove President Trump’s video remarks about riots at the Capitol, citing policies about the spread of violence and disputed claims on the election.

Trump in the video urged his supporters who forced their way into the Capitol to go home, but repeated unsubstantiated claims about widespread election fraud.

The video was removed by YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter by early Wednesday evening. Twitter and Facebook initially labeled the post without removing it entirely, but within a couple of hours all three platforms had taken the video down.

Google-owned YouTube said it removed the video because it violates its policies regarding content that alleges widespread election fraud.

Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, said the video was removed because it risked inciting more violence.

“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,” Rosen tweeted.

Facebook did not remove the video initially and instead added a label about “accurate election info.” The post was shared about 49,000 times within 30 minutes before it was removed.

Shortly after the president posted the video, Twitter added a warning and limited interactions with the tweet, prohibiting users from replying to, retweeting and liking the video post “due to a risk of violence.” The label on the tweet also stated that “this claim of election fraud is disputed.” 

After a couple of hours with the labeled post up, Twitter removed the tweet entirely. 

Several of Trump’s tweets earlier in the day had been labeled “disputed” as a result of election fraud claims, but Wednesday’s video was the first post from the president’s account that Twitter has limited interactions with and removed over concerns about violence.

Trump followed up the video with a similarly worded text post on Facebook and Twitter, urging supporters to “go home” while repeating false claims of his “landslide victory.” 

Facebook and Twitter quickly took down those posts too. 

A YouTube spokesperson said that in addition to removing Trump’s video, the platform is working to “quickly remove livestreams and other content that violates our policies, including those against incitement to violence or regarding footage of graphic violence.”

“In addition, we’re continuing to raise up authoritative news sources on our home page, in search results and in recommendations. We will remain vigilant in the coming hours,” spokesperson Alex Joseph said in a statement. 

In the one-minute taped video, Trump told his supporters, “You have to go home now. We have to have peace.”

“We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt,” he added. 

But the president also reiterated false claims that his election defeat was “fraudulent.” The unsubstantiated claims of a “fraudulent” election were the basis for the riots at the Capitol in the first place. 

Trump followed up the video with a similarly worded text post on Facebook and Twitter, urging supporters to “go home” and repeating false claims of his “landslide victory.” 

Facebook removed that post, as well, a spokesperson confirmed. Twitter took the same action it did with the video, restricting and labeling the tweet.

The D.C. rioters were protesting the Electoral College vote taking place Wednesday, ultimately leading to a lockdown and eventual evacuation at the Capitol. 

Updated at 6:49 p.m.

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