Social Media Platforms Block Donald Trump

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have temporarily suspended US President Donald Trump’s accounts, saying he has broken their content regulations when he tweeted encouragemnet to supporters who were violently demonstrating in Washington DC. 

Trump's supporters clashed with police, leading to the death of one woman. 

The march was partly organised online, including on Facebook groups and pages. Facebook has suspended Trump from posting to his account for 24 hours. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, also locked Trump’s account. “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.” said Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice-president of integrity. YouTube also removed the video.

Trump’s social media message repeated false claims about election fraud to the supporters and said "I love you" before telling them to go home. 

Twitter has said that it had removed three tweets for "severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy". It also said the "Future violations of the Twitter Rules... will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account". Facebook said: "We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence."

The violence brought to a halt congressional debate over Democrat Joe Biden's election win. In the House and Senate chambers, Republicans were challenging the certification of November's election results.

Before the violence, President Trump had told supporters on the National Mall in Washington that the election had been stolen. Hours later, as the violence mounted inside and outside the US Capitol, he appeared on video and repeated the false claim. He told protesters "I love you" and described the people who stormed the Capitol complex as "patriots".

  • YouTube said it removed the video because it "violated policies on spreading election fraud". YouTube has a policy to remove fake news about mass election fraud, which it applied to the president, saying in a statement  statement that the video violated "policies regarding content that alleges widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome."
  • Twitter said: "We have been significantly restricting engagement with Tweets labeled under our Civic Integrity Policy due to the risk of violence". witter has now threatened to ban Trump entirely if he continues to break the rules. Twitter has labeled dozens of Trump’s posts as disputed or misleading.
  • Facebook said it is currently looking for and removing content that incited or supported the storming of Capitol Hill. Facebook flagged misleading election posts by pointing users to trusted news sites, but this is the first time the president has been kicked off either platform even temporarily. 

Social media has been Trump’s preferred way to disseminate information directly to the public for several years prior to his election in 2016 and since he lost the 2020 election in November 2020 he has posted regularly without showing any evidence that the presidential election was “rigged.” 

US commentators are predicting that President-elect Joe Biden will likely seek legislative measures  to crack down on conspiracy theories and extremism on social media when he takes office in two weeks.

Twitter:      Bloomberg:       Livemint:          NBC:        Guardian:      BBC:  


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