TWITTER, FACEBOOK MUZZLE TRUMP FOR INCITING CAPITOL VIOLENCE
In an unprecedented step, Facebook and Twitter suspended President Donald Trump from posting to their platforms Wednesday following the storming of the US Capitol by his supporters, Barbara Ortutay and David Klepper reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Twitter locked Trump out of his account for 12 hours and said that future violations by Trump could result in a permanent suspension. The company required the removal of three of Trump’s tweets, including a short video in which he urged those supporters to “go home” while also repeating falsehoods about the integrity of the presidential election. Trump’s account deleted those posts, Twitter said; had they remained, Twitter had threatened to extend his suspension.
Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook owns, announced that Trump would be blocked from the aforementioned platforms indefinitely, and "for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete," as per a post by company chairman, chief executive officer, and controlling shareholder, Mark Zuckerberg.
The White House did not immediately offer a response to the actions.
While some cheered the platforms’ actions, experts noted that the companies’ actions follow years of hemming and hawing on Trump and his supporters spreading dangerous misinformation and encouraging violence that have contributed to Wednesday’s violence.
Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University communications professor and an expert on social media, said Wednesday’s events in Washington, D.C. are a direct result of Trump’s use of social media to spread propaganda and disinformation, and that the platforms should bear some responsibility for their inaction.
“This is what happens,” said Grygiel. “We didn’t just see a breach at the Capitol. Social media platforms have been breached by the president repeatedly. This is disinformation. This was a coup attempt in the United States.” Grygiel said the platform’s decision to remove the video — and Twitter’s suspension — are too little, too late.
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