“After review, and in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to Donald J. Trump’s channel for violating our policies. It now has its 1st strike & is temporarily prevented from uploading new content for a *minimum* of 7 days.
“Given the ongoing concerns about violence, we will also be indefinitely disabling comments on President Trump’s channel, as we’ve done to other channels where there are safety concerns found in the comments section.”
Update (1/7/21) – Donald Trump’s Twitch account has now also been disabled. A spokesperson told IGN, “Given the current extraordinary circumstances and the President’s incendiary rhetoric, we believe this is a necessary step to protect our community and prevent Twitch from being used to incite further violence.”
Original story follows.Mark Zuckerberg has announced that President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts have been blocked “indefinitely and for at least two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”
In a statement on Facebook (which you can read in full at the bottom of this post), Zuckerberg wrote that the decision stems from Trump “clearly” intending to use his remaining time in office to undermine the transition of power to President-Elect Joe Biden.
The historic decision to block a sitting president from a major social media account follows a tumultuous day in US politics. As the Georgia run-off all but confirmed the Democrats’ control of the Senate, and Congress convened to formally confirm Biden’s election victory, Trump held a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally in Washington DC, during which he made continued and unsubstantiated claims of election rigging.
Many have drawn a line between Trump’s rhetoric – which included recommending that the crowd march to the United States Capitol – and an ensuing attack on the Capitol itself, seeing dozens of Trump supporters enter the building by force, and which resulted in a reported four deaths. Congress reconvened after the mob had been dispersed and officially cleared the Electoral College count, ratifying Biden’s victory.
While Trump eventually used social media to call on those inside the building to peacefully leave, he continued his false claims of election rigging, and told protestors, “We love you”. It led both Facebook and Twitter to first flag, then remove multiple Trump posts, before issuing him with temporary bans.
Twitter’s 12 hour ban has now expired after Trump removed what were flagged as offending tweets. Facebook’s approach appears to be going a step further, with its 24-hour ban lengthened indefinitely, and at least until the end of the presidential transition process on January 20.
Following the attack on the Capitol, Street Fighter player Ryan ‘Gootecks’ Gutierrez posted a tweet that appeared to call for further violence. As a result, Twitch confirmed that it would remove the popular ‘Pogchamp’ emote based on Gutierrez. In a statement, the company wrote: “We can’t in good conscience continue to enable use of the image. We will work with the community to design a new emote for the most hype moments on Twitch.”
Zuckerberg’s post follows in full:
“The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden.
His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world. We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect — and likely their intent — would be to provoke further violence.
Following the certification of the election results by Congress, the priority for the whole country must now be to ensure that the remaining 13 days and the days after inauguration pass peacefully and in accordance with established democratic norms.
Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies. We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech. But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.
We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”