• By The Financial District


Twitter on Wednesday locked the account of President Trump, which prevents him from posting messages to his more than 88 million followers, after he published a string of inaccurate and inflammatory tweets on a day of violence in the nation’s capital.

The move was an unprecedented rebuke of Mr. Trump by Twitter, which has long been his preferred megaphone, according to The New York Times report.

Twitter said Mr. Trump’s account would remain locked for 12 hours and the ban could be extended if several of his tweets that rejected the election results and appeared to incite violence were not deleted. Mr. Trump’s account will be permanently suspended if he continues violating Twitter’s policies against violent threats and election misinformation, the company added.

Twitter said that the risks of keeping Mr. Trump’s commentary live on its site had become too high. “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,” a spokesman said.

The move followed a torrent of criticism aimed at social media companies for their role in spreading misinformation and being a bullhorn for Mr. Trump after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday and halted the certification of Electoral College votes.

For years, Mr. Trump had built his influence with rapid-fire tweets and by reaching out to millions of people on Facebook. Since losing November’s election, he had used the platforms to challenge the election results and call them fraudulent.

On Twitter on Wednesday, users called for the company’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, to take down President Trump’s account. Civil rights groups said action by social media companies against calls for political violence was “long overdue.” Even venture capitalists who had reaped riches from investing in social media urged Twitter and Facebook to do more.

“For four years you’ve rationalized this terror. Inciting violent treason is not a free speech exercise,” Chris Sacca, a tech investor who had invested in Twitter, wrote to Mr. Dorsey and Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg. “If you work at those companies, it’s on you too. Shut it down.”

Twitter, Facebook and others had previously resisted cracking down on Mr. Trump’s posts and other toxic content. While the platforms had started taking more steps against political misinformation in the months before the election, they declined to remove Mr. Trump’s posts and instead took half steps, such as labeling his posts.

So when violence broke out in Washington on Wednesday, it was, in the minds of longtime critics, the day the chickens came home to roost for the social media companies. After the onslaught of criticism began, Twitter and Facebook started proactively removing several of Mr. Trump’s posts from their sites, including one where the president falsely said that “a sacred landslide election victory” had been “unceremoniously & viciously stripped away.”