Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram temporarily locked President Donald Trump’s accounts over concerns that he incited violence at the Capitol on Wednesday, The New York Times reports.
Twitter said that it would lock Trump’s account for 12 hours and extend the ban if he continued to lie about baseless fraud and election rigging allegations.
Trump deleted multiple tweets that appeared to incite violence.
“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,” the social media company said. “This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets. If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked.”
A Twitter spokesperson told The Times that “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.”
Facebook extends ban:
Facebook initially locked Trump’s account for 24 hours for violating its rules but on Thursday said it would extend the ban indefinitely.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the “shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate” that Trump “intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power.”
“His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world,” he said. “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 inauguaration pass peacefully.”
Zuckerberg said that because Trump was using “our platform to incite violent insurrection,” his account would be locked “indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”
Social media companies under fire:
Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey were criticized for not acting sooner.
“For four years you’ve rationalized this terror. Inciting violent treason is not a free speech exercise,” wrote Twitter investor Chris Sacca. “If you work at those companies, it’s on you too. Shut it down.”
“The social media companies have been lackadaisical at best,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League. “Freedom of expression is not the freedom to incite violence. That is not protected speech.”