San Francisco: Twitter Inc. suspended President Donald Trump’s account for the first time and required him to delete certain posts after “repeated and severe” violations of its rules on election misinformation, including a video sending love to supporters who violently rioted at the U.S. Capitol to protest his election loss. Facebook Inc. also said it’s banning Trump’s page from posting for 24 hours.
“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,” Twitter wrote in a post on its site. Once the tweets are deleted, Trump will get his account back after a 12-hour lock is lifted.
For years, Twitter has been Trump’s preferred way to disseminate information directly to the public. Since November, Trump has tweeted regularly without evidence that the election, which he lost to Joe Biden, was “rigged.” The company has labeled dozens of Trump’s posts as disputed or misleading, but Wednesday was the first time the president has been kicked off the platform even temporarily. Twitter is requiring him to delete three tweets, and threatened to ban Trump entirely if he continues to break the rules.
“Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account,” the company tweeted from its @TwitterSafety handle.
The video that Trump was asked to remove showed the president addressing rioters at the U.S. Capitol. Trump told them to “go home,” but also called the election result “fraudulent.” Google’s YouTube and Facebook also removed the same video from Trump’s official pages.
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
Facebook, the world’s largest social network, said it’s appalled by the riots and is removing all praise of the storming of the Capitol, calls to bring weapons to certain locations across the U.S., and videos and photos from Capitol protesters. “At this point they represent promotion of criminal activity which violates our policies,” the company said in a blog post.
Another Trump tweet that was blocked, which appeared as the violence unfolded, read “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.”
Twitter has been under pressure for years to take a tougher stance against Trump’s account, which he often uses to spread inflammatory attacks and misinformation. Calls for Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey to ban the president were widespread on Wednesday. Trump’s supporters had gathered in Washington for a speech in which he encouraged them to demand the election be overturned.
In the past, Twitter has come up with other rules to limit the spread of Trump’s incendiary posts without removing them entirely, including warning labels that obscure the content of messages, arguing against their removal on the grounds of news value coming from a world leader. But Twitter has also taken a firmer line against Trump in recent months. Executives have said that Dorsey is not the final word on punishing elected leaders and that decision falls to its top policy executive, Vijaya Gadde.
Twitter first flagged a handful of Trump tweets for misinformation in May, setting off a more aggressive approach to the president’s posts as the 2020 election approached. Since November, dozens of Trump’s tweets have been hidden or labeled for mischaracterizing the election results. Shortly after the election, Twitter confirmed that when Trump leaves office in January, he will not be considered a world leader, and could be punished more severely for his violations.
Twitter shares fell about 2% in extended trading after the company’s announcement.- Bloomberg