Twitter said on Friday that it has permanently suspended US President Donald Trump’s account due to the risk of further incitement of violence following the storming of the US Capitol on Wednesday. The suspension of Trump’s account, which had more than 88 million followers, silences his primary megaphone days before the end of his term and follows years of debate about how social media companies should moderate the accounts of powerful global leaders.
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” the company said in a tweet. It was the first time Twitter has banned a head of state, the company confirmed. Social media companies have moved swiftly to crack down on Trump and some of his prominent right-wing allies and supporters in the wake of the turmoil in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, which led to five deaths.
After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.https://t.co/CBpE1I6j8Y — Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 8, 2021
Trump has repeatedly used Twitter and other platforms to claim his defeat in the November 3 election was due to widespread voter fraud and to share other conspiracy theories, and had urged supporters to come to Washington on Wednesday and march on the Capitol to protest the election result.
Facebook said earlier this week it was suspending his account through until at least the end of his presidential term. Trump is due to hand over to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden on January 20.
In a blog post on Friday, Twitter said that two of the president’s tweets posted that day were in violation of its policy against the glorification of violence. Twitter had temporarily blocked Trump’s account on Wednesday following the siege of Capitol Hill, and warned that additional violations by the president’s accounts would result in a permanent suspension.
Trump was required to delete three rule-breaking tweets before his account was unblocked. He returned to Twitter on Thursday with a video acknowledging that Biden would be the next US president.
Twitter said that Trump’s tweet that he would not be attending Biden’s inauguration was being received by a number of his supporters as confirmation that the November election was not legitimate.
It said another tweet praising “American Patriots” and saying his supporters “will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” could be seen as “further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an orderly transition.”
Critics of major social media platforms, including top Democratic politicians, praised Twitter’s move and said it was long overdue, while Trump supporters expressed outrage.
The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, in a tweet on Friday decried the ban, saying dictators who had threatened genocide continued to have Twitter accounts. He did not provide names.
The White House had no immediate direct comment. The Trump campaign’s Twitter account criticized the company for “silencing” the president of the United States.
Using the @POTUS account, Trump said he would look at building his own platform.