In a first, Twitter went ahead to suspend the account of US President Donald Trump for 12 hours on Wednesday after the leader posted false accusations about the election with the supporters storming the Capitol after a Trump rally. In response to the President’s reaction on Twitter, the micro-blogging site said that future violations by Trump may also lead to a permanent suspension. Also Read: U.S. Capitol Building Under Siege: Know Why & How The Attack Started
Earlier in the day, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube also removed a short video from Trump in which he can be seen urging his supporters to “go home” but at the same time stating falsehoods about the integrity of the presidential election.
Trump, who lost the popular and electoral college vote, posted that video more than two hours after protesters entered the Capitol, interrupting lawmakers meeting in an extraordinary joint session to confirm the Electoral College results and President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Meanwhile Facebook also said Trump will not be able to post on Facebook or Instagram for the next 24 hours because his posts, on balance, contribute to “rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence,” said Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen. Instagram also went ahead to lock the President’s account. “We are locking President Donald Trump’s Instagram account for 24 hours as well,” said Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram.
Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, said on Twitter that the video was removed because it “contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.” This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video,” Rosen tweeted.
Twitter initially left the video up but blocked people from being able to retweet it or comment on it. Only later in the day did the platform delete it entirely.
In the opening statement in the video Trump said, “I know your pain. I know your hurt. But you have to go home now.” He stressed on false claims about voter fraud affecting the election, Trump went on to say: “We can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special.”
On the other hand, Republican lawmakers and previous administration officials had asked Trump to give a statement to his supporters to quell the violence. The statement came as authorities struggled to take control of a chaotic situation at the Capitol that led to the evacuation of lawmakers and the death of at least one person.
Later, in the second tweet, he appeared to justify the violence as inevitable.
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” he tweeted. “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
Trump has harnessed social media — especially Twitter — as a potent tool for spreading misinformation about the election. Wednesday’s riot only increased calls to ban Trump from the platform.
Meanwhile a woman was fatally shot inside the U.S. Capitol after the mob breached the building. The circumstances were not clear.
Content Facing The Facebook Axe
Faceook on its part is focusing on searching and removing certain content. It includes praise and support of the storming of the US Capitol, calls to bring weapons to locations across the US — not just in Washington but anywhere in the US — including protests.
Also scrutinising any content related to incitement or encouragement of the events at the Capitol, including videos and photos from the protestors. At this point they represent promotion of criminal activity which violates our policies.
It is also keeping an eye on calls for protests — even peaceful ones — if they violate the curfew in DC besides any attempts to restage violence tomorrow or in the coming days.