Micro-blogging site Twitter has locked US President Donald Trump’s account for 12 hours after removing three tweets that contained “repeated and severe violations” of its Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies. The company said that Trump’s account will remain locked till he entirely deleted the three offensive tweets and will permanently block Trump’s account in case of future violations of the company’s Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policy. This comes after Trump tweeted a video that Twitter says posed a risk of violence.
“As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, DC, we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy,” Twitter said via its Twitter Safety handle. Further, the 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. Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.”
Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 7, 2021
This development comes after pro-Trump protesters stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to force Congress to block the appointment of President-elect Joe Biden. One woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol building in the chaos.
Apart from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have also taken measures against the US President. Facebook said that it would block Trump’s page from posting for 24 hours due to two policy violations. Facebook and YouTube also removed a video in which Trump continued to allege that the presidential elections in November 2020 were fraudulent even as he urged the protesters to go home. The video was removed from Instagram and Trump’s account on Instagram will also be locked for 24 hours, according to Instagram Chief, Adam Mosseri.
We are locking President Trump’s Instagram account for 24 hours as well. https://t.co/HpA79eSbMe
— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) January 7, 2021
Facebook’s vice president of integrity Guy Rosen tweeted that the social media company believed the president’s video “contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence,” saying the action was part of “appropriate emergency measures.” YouTube, on the other hand, said Trump’s video violated its policy against content that alleges “widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 US Election.”
This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump's video. We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.
— Guy Rosen (@guyro) January 6, 2021
Both Facebook and Twitter had initially added labels and measures to slow the video’s spread.
Civil rights groups including The Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change have also called for social media companies to suspend Trump’s accounts permanently.
Trump has repeatedly violated the policies put in place on social media platforms in order to curb hate speech and misinformation, but his posts have received special treatment in the past because of his status. Twitter restricted or labelled, but did not remove, a proclamation that said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” back in the summer of 2020, when the US was facing nation-wide black lives matter protests. It cited a rule that treats statements from world leaders as particularly noteworthy.
Now, however, Twitter said that the policy was no longer its top priority. “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 and/or more severe,” Twitter said.