Twitter, Facebook temporarily mute Trump after DC uproar

Twitter Locks Trump's Account for 12 Hours, Warns He Could Be Removed. The remarkable action of the social media platform marked the first time Donald Trump's Twitter account had been locked. The company warned that further violation of the platform's rules “will result in the permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.”. Twitter also removed at least three of Trump's tweets from Wednesday. including the tweet containing the video message Trump recorded for the mob of his supporters that stormed the U.S. Capital building. As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., .., @TwitterSafety, Twitter. ... we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy, @TwitterSafety, Twitter. Both Facebook and YouTube also removed the video. This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video, Guy Rosen, Facebook Vice President of Integrity, via CNBC. We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence, Guy Rosen, Facebook Vice President of Integrity, via CNBC. Congressional lawmakers have reconvened to complete the Electoral College count ceremony

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on Wednesday temporarily blocked President Donald Trump

All it took for social-media giants Twitter and Facebook to even temporarily bar President Donald Trump from addressing their vast audiences was a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, fueled by years of false statements, conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric from the president.

ExploreUPDATE: Trump commits to ‘orderly transition’ after Biden’s win confirmed

On Wednesday, in an unprecedented step, the two companies temporarily suspended Trump from posting to their platforms after a mob of his supporters stormed the house of Congress. It was the most aggressive action either company has yet taken against Trump, who more than a decade ago embraced the immediacy and scale of Twitter to rally loyalists, castigate enemies and spread false rumors.

Twitter locked Trump out of his account for 12 hours and said that future violations could result in a permanent suspension. The company required the removal of three of Trump's tweets, including a short video in which he urged those supporters to “go home” while also repeating falsehoods about the integrity of the presidential election. Trump's account deleted those posts, Twitter said; had they remained, Twitter had threatened to extend his suspension.

Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook owns, followed up in the evening, announcing that Trump wouldn't be able to post for 24 hours following two violations of its policies. The White House did not immediately offer a response to the actions.

While some cheered the platforms' actions, experts noted that the companies' actions follow years of hemming and hawing on Trump and his supporters spreading dangerous misinformation and encouraging violence that have contributed to Wednesday's violence.

Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University communications professor and an expert on social media, said Wednesday’s events in Washington, D.C. are a direct result of Trump’s use of social media to spread propaganda and disinformation, and that the platforms should bear some responsibility for their inaction.

“This is what happens,” Grygiel said. “We didn’t just see a breach at the Capitol. Social media platforms have been breached by the president repeatedly. This is disinformation. This was a coup attempt in the United States.”

Grygiel said the platform’s decision to remove the video — and Twitter’s suspension — are too little, too late.

“They’re creeping along towards firmer action,” Grygiel said, calling Trump “Exhibit A” for the need for greater regulation of social media. “Social media is complicit in this because he has repeatedly used social media to incite violence. It’s a culmination of years of propaganda and abuse of media by the president of the United States."

Trump posted the 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.

So far, YouTube has not taken similar action to muzzle Trump, although it said it also removed Trump’s video. But that video remained available as of Wednesday afternoon.

Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, said on Twitter Wednesday 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 said.

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.

Trump opened his video saying, “I know your pain. I know your hurt. But you have to go home now.”

After repeating 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.”

President Trump Urges Mob Storming the Capitol to ‘Go Home’. President Donald Trump released a message urging his mob of supporters to stop their assault on the Capitol. . In a video posted to Twitter, Trump said that they “have to go home now.” . You have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We don’t want anyone hurt, Donald Trump, via Twitter. But the president ultimately offered his encouragement to the violent crowd, telling them, “we love you. You’re very special.” . Vice President Mike Pence also released a statement, saying the “violence and destruction” must stop. . Peaceful protest is the right of every American but this attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, Mike Pence, via Twitter. President-elect Joe Biden released a statement pertaining to the Capitol “siege” as well, saying it “borders on sedition.” . The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not represent who we are. What we are seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent, it's disorder. It borders on sedition, and it must end. Now, Joe Biden, via Twitter. Many lawmakers blame Trump for causing the riot in the first place. He spoke at a rally shortly before the incident and urged his supporters to “never concede” to the results of the election. We’re going to walk down to the Capitol … You'll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong, Donald Trump, via CNN

Republican lawmakers and previous administration officials had begged Trump to give a statement to his supporters to quell the violence. He posted his video 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.

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.

“The President has promoted sedition and incited violence," Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive officer of the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement. “More than anything, what is happening right now at the Capitol is a direct result of the fear and disinformation that has been spewed consistently from the Oval Office."

In a statement Thursday morning, Trump said there would be an “orderly transition on January 20th” and acknowledged defeat in the election for the first time. His aides posted the statement on Twitter because his account remained suspended.

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