U.S President Donald Trump gives an address, a day after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., in this still image taken from video provided on social media on January 8, 2021.
Donald J. Trump via Twitter | Reuters
Twitter permanently suspended President Donald Trump’s account on Friday.
The company said in a tweet it made the decision “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
The decision came after Facebook made a similar call, extending an initial 24 hour suspension to an indefinite one that CEO Mark Zuckerberg said would last at least through the end of Trump’s term.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump first experienced temporary bans from both platforms on Jan. 6 in the midst of a riot where his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers proceeded with the formality of counting Electoral College votes. Many lawmakers and even former members of Trump’s administration criticized Trump for encouraging his supporters to reject the election results and protest at the Capitol. Congress later reaffirmed Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
As the riot unfolded, Trump tweeted messages encouraging non-violence, though he later released a video message that also reiterated his unsubstantiated claim that the election was stolen from him and told rioters “we love you.”
Twitter initially blocked some of Trump’s tweets from public view on Wednesday and required he delete them to regain access to his account. After the deletion, he was locked out of the account for another 12 hours. But, Twitter warned, future policy violations would result in permanent suspension of Trump’s account.
In his first tweet after returning to Twitter on Jan. 7, Trump posted a video message urging calm and giving the closest thing to a concession speech he has yet, saying there would be a transition to a new administration. Still, he told supporters, “our incredible journey is only just beginning.”
Later, Trump tweeted, “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Twitter said in a blog post that the two tweets “must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks.”
Twitter determined those tweets violated its Glorification of Violence Policy, prompting the ban.
The suspensions from Facebook and Twitter represent a major shift at the companies, which have up until now avoided taking such a drastic measure on Trump’s accounts. Executives at both companies have been faced with intense criticism for treating Trump’s and other conservatives’ accounts unfairly, which both have denied.
Now, the platform’s role in perpetuating messages from the president and his supporters who planned the riot are being scrutinized by the public.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.