President Trump has been one of the most influential social media users of all time, that is utterly undeniable. From his perch in the White House, he has elevated the import of Twitter and other platforms irreversibly, and he has forced these companies to adjust under the weight of their own gravity.
Now, with trouble squarely on the doorstep in DC, Facebook has taken an extraordinary step.
Mark Zuckerberg, on Thursday, took the unprecedented move of indefinitely banning President Donald Trump on both Facebook (FB) and Instagram. In a blog post, the Facebook CEO said “the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period is too great.”
Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts were blocked on Wednesday following the outbreak of riots at the Capitol by a mob seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 elections, which President-elect Joe Biden won with 306 electoral votes over Trump’s 232.
The full statement is as follows:
The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden.
His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world. We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect — and likely their intent — would be to provoke further violence.
Following the certification of the election results by Congress, the priority for the whole country must now be to ensure that the remaining 13 days and the days after inauguration pass peacefully and in accordance with established democratic norms.
Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies. We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech. But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.
We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, 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.
Twitter had also taken action against the President, locking his account for 12 hours overnight and requiring that he delete a number of tweets before access would be restored.
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