Twitter and Facebook for the first time temporarily blocked President Donald Trump from posting on their sites after his supporters stormed the US Capitol, sparking violence and halting the process to certify Joe Biden as the next US president.
In a rare move, Twitter locked Trump’s account because the company said he violated its rules against interfering in elections or other civic processes. Earlier in the day, Trump posted several tweets that included baseless claims about election fraud. The president also shared the same posts on his Facebook Page, and the social network said Trump will be blocked from posting on the platform for 24 hours.
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“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,” Facebook said in a tweet. Facebook, which owns Instagram, is also blocking Trump from posting on the photo service for 24 hours.
Twitter and Facebook have labeled several of Trump’s tweets in the past but has stopped short of removing his tweets because of public interest. “Our public interest policy — which has guided our enforcement action in this area for years — ends where we believe the risk of harm is higher and/or more severe,” Twitter said in a tweet.
Twitter said it’s requiring the removal of three tweets from Trump’s account. The company said Trump’s account will be locked until he removes them because the tweets violate its rules. Even though the tweets aren’t visible to the public, Trump hasn’t deleted them yet. Once he does so, his account will remain locked for 12 hours. If he violates Twitter’s rules again, the company could permanently suspend his account.
One of the tweets included a video of Trump that garnered more than 13 million views. In the video, Trump urged his supporters to “go home now” but also repeated false claims about election fraud. “We have to have peace. We have to have law and order,” he said in the video. Facebook and Google-owned YouTube pulled down the video. Facebook said it pulled down the video because it believes it could contribute to more violence.
Twitter, along with Facebook, took its strongest stance against Trump’s posts on Wednesday. Facebook also removed several of Trump’s post. While social network’s have generally labeled Trump’s posts about election fraud, violence at the US Capitol prompted them to take tougher action. A woman was fatally shot inside US Capitol in a standoff between law enforcement and Trump supporters, according to multiple media reports. Critics were also calling on Twitter and Facebook to suspend Trump’s accounts.
The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.