Social media companies in the US are moving swiftly to crack down on Donald Trump and some of his prominent right-wing channels following the violent protest at the US Capitol Building in Washington DC last week in which five people were killed. Prior to the incident, the now-outgoing US President had repeatedly used Twitter, Facebook and other platforms to claim his defeat in the November 3 election was due to widespread voter fraud. Trump had repeatedly urged his supporters to come to Washington and march on the Capitol to protest the election results. In the aftermath of the incident, tech giants like Facebook, Google, and more have removed his account from their respective platforms to prevent the spread of posts inciting violence.
Here’s a look at all the companies that have removed Donald Trump and pro-right wing pages associated with the US President.
Facebook: Facebook was among the first social media companies to remove Trump’s account. Its chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has announced an indefinite ban on the US President (term ends on January 20) for violating its terms of service. “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," he said.
Twitter: Donald Trump’s official Twitter account had over 88 million followers before the ban. The social media company says that it is the first time the platform banned a sitting head of state. Twitter further claims that two of his tweets ahead of the protest violated its policy against the glorification of violence. The company added that Trump’s tweet where he had announced his decision to not attend Joe Biden’s inauguration was being received by a number of his supporters as confirmation that the November election was not legitimate.
Reddit: Reddit has removed the popular pro-Donald Trump subreddit ‘r/donaldtrump’ from its platform. Prior to the ban, the sub-Reddit group had over 50,000 members with an image of Donald Trump dressed as Uncle Sam with the caption “POTUS wants you in DC on 1/06/21." Notably, the company in June 2020 had removed another subreddit ‘r/The_Donald’ for violating its terms of service amid Black Live Matter protests in the US. The online group had over 790,000 members. In a statement, Reddit said, “We have also taken action to ban the community r/donaldtrump given repeated policy violations in recent days regarding the violence at the US Capitol."
YouTube: The popular video-sharing platform has removed many videos posted by Trump on his channel that spread misinformation over election fraud. It is also cracking down other channels that are reposting misleading videos of the ongoing US President. “Due to the disturbing events that transpired on Wednesday, and given that the election results have been certified, any channel posting new videos with these false claims in violation of our policies will now receive a strike, a penalty which temporarily restricts uploading or live-streaming," the platform said in a statement.
Snapchat, TikTok: Both the platforms are removing Donald Trump’s videos that violate their terms of service and incite violence. The social media companies are also downranking hashtags such as ‘stormthecapitol’ and ‘patriotparty.’ Notably, Snapchat had taken off Trump’s profile from the Discover section back in June 2020, following the Black Live Matter protest in the country.
Google, Apple, Amazon: Google, Apple, and Amazon have suspended social media platform, Parler, from their app stores and web service for failing to prevent the spread of posts inciting violence. The Twitter-inspired micro-blogging platform has several right-wing and Pro-Trump supporters. We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues," Apple said in a statement. However, Parler chief executive John Matze lashed out at the three tech companies saying, “This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place."
Shopify: Not only social media sites but e-commerce company Shopify has taken down two online stores affiliated with Trump that sells his merchandise. In a statement to The Financial Times, the company said “We have determined that the actions by President Donald J Trump violate our acceptable Use Policy, which prohibits promotion or support of organisations, platforms or people that threaten or condone violence to further a cause. As a result, we have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump."
Other platforms like Pinterest, Twitch, Stripe, and Discord have too suspended accounts affiliated with Donald Trump. Following the violent protest in Washington, Trump condemned the attack in a video he posted on social media, calling it a “heinous." However, social media companies still fear that his supporters may continue to spread hateful posts, further posing a risk across the US, ahead of Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration on January 20.