Twitter and Facebook slap Trump with temporary suspensions
Twitter and Facebook both announced Wednesday evening that they are temporarily suspending President Trump’s accounts after his posts about the mob that overran the Capitol violated platform guidelines.
Twitter is suspending the president’s account for 12 hours. Though the platform has added previously added labels to Trump’s tweets, this marks the first time the social media giant has taken the step of locking the president out of his account.
If Trump does not delete two tweets to which the company objected, the account will remain locked.
Facebook is limiting Trump for 24 hours. The suspension will also apply on Instagram.
“We’ve assessed two policy violations against President Trump’s Page which will result in a 24-hour feature block, meaning he will lose the ability to post on the platform during that time,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Hill.
The first violating post was a video urging Trump’s supporters who broke into the Capitol to retreat while simultaneously praising the mob and repeating false claims about voter fraud.
“This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people,” he said in the video. “We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.”
The second struck a similar tone, urging rioters to “go home” while repeating false claims of his “landslide victory.”
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” the president tweeted. “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
Twitter slapped labels on both tweet,s saying that his claims about election results were “disputed” and limited interactions with the posts “due to risk of violence.”
The platform ultimately decided to delete both tweets. Facebook made a similar decision shortly before Twitter, saying “on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”
Either platform choosing to outright suspend Trump’s account is a first.
Social media platforms have generally been cautious of moderating the president’s content, and face accusations from the right that they are biased against conservatives.
When Twitter first applied a label to one of Trump’s tweets claiming that mail-in voting would mean the election would be illegitimate, the president signed an executive order threatening to remove a key legal liability protection for online platforms, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Some lawmakers have criticized Twitter for only making the suspension 12 hours, adding to the growing calls to remove him from the platform entirely coming from “civil rights groups and academics.
“Apparently inciting domestic terrorism gets you a 12-hour timeout from @Twitter,” former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro tweeted. “Shut @realDonaldTrump down!”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) called the suspension “not sufficient.”
“He is a danger to our democracy and should be banned from @twitter for the next 14 days,” he tweeted.
Updated at 8:48 p.m.