Twitter said on Friday that due to the possibility of further incitement to violence following the storming of the US Capitol on Wednesday, it has permanently suspended US President Donald Trump’s account. The suspension of Trump’s account, which had more than 88 million followers, silences his primary megaphone days before his term expires and follows years of controversy over how the accounts of influential world leaders should be moderated by social media companies.
After carefully analyzing recent tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the surrounding context, the company said in a tweet that we have permanently suspended the account because of the possibility of further incitement to violence.
In the aftermath of the chaos in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, which led to five deaths, social media firms have acted rapidly to clamp down on Trump and some of his influential right-wing allies and supporters.
Trump regularly used Twitter and other outlets to say that his defeat was due to massive voter fraud in the November 3 election and to share other conspiracy theories, and encouraged supporters to come to Washington on Wednesday and march on the Capitol to protest the election outcome.
Earlier this week, Facebook said it was suspending his account until at least the end of his term as president. The Republican president is scheduled to be handed over on January 20 to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden.
Twitter said in a blog post on Friday that two of the president’s tweets posted that day were in breach of its policy against the glorification of abuse. On Wednesday, following the siege of Capitol Hill, Twitter briefly suspended Trump’s account and warned that any breaches of the president’s accounts would result in a permanent suspension.
Until his account was unblocked, Trump was forced to remove three rule-breaking tweets. On Thursday, he returned to Twitter with a video acknowledging that Biden will be the next president of the USA.
Twitter said that a lot of his followers were getting Trump’s tweet that he would not attend Biden’s inauguration as evidence that the November election was not valid. “American Patriots”American Patriots”will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”will not in any way, form or form be disrespected or treated unfairly!!!”further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an orderly transition.”another indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an orderly transition.
Twitter’s move was welcomed by critics of major social media outlets, including top Democratic lawmakers, who said it was long overdue, although Trump supporters expressed outrage. In a tweet on Friday, the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., decried the ban, claiming that dictators who had attempted genocide continued to have Twitter accounts. He didn’t supply names.
There was no immediate direct response from the White House. The Twitter account of the Trump campaign criticised the corporation for “silencing” the President of the United States. Trump said, using the @POTUS account, he will look at building his own website.
The prolific use of social media by Trump helped catapult him to the 2016 White House. He used his official @realDonaldTrump account to reach supporters, spread disinformation and even fire staff, which he often tweeted more than 100 times a day. “I doubt I would be here if it weren’t for social media, to be honest with you,”I doubt I would be here if it were not for social media, to be honest with you.
As a world leader, both Twitter and Facebook have long afforded Trump special rights, saying that posts that could break the rules of the organization will not be censored because they were in the public interest. They said that upon leaving office, however, he would lose access to those rights. Last year, Twitter began tagging and placing alerts on Trump’s tweets that violated its rules against glorifying abuse, influencing media, or sharing potentially misleading voting process details.
“Twitter affixed a warning mark to a Trump tweet in May about nationwide anti-racism demonstrations over George Floyd’s police killing, including the expression “when the looting begins, the shooting begins.” Facebook, which has been shot by staff and lawmakers for not doing anything about Trump’s offensive posts, refused to act on the same message.
Trump still has access to the official accounts of @WhiteHouse and @POTUS, but when his presidential term expires, this will be lost. Asked if Trump could build another account, a spokeswoman for Twitter said that if the company had reason to suspect that he was using accounts to circumvent the suspension on Friday, those accounts could also be suspended.