Twitter and Facebook suspend Trump's accounts due to "risk of violence"
Companies delete his video insisting on fraud after the assault on the Capitol
BarcelonaAfter Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, Twitter and Facebook have made an unprecedented decision: blocking Donald Trump's accounts and deleting several of his messages that they believe pose a "danger of violence. The still-president has remained mute.
The two companies have deleted messages from the president questioning the election result and celebrating the assault on the Capitol. Facebook has suspended Trump's account for 24 hours and has done the same with Instagram, which belongs to the same company. Twitter has blocked him for 12 hours and required him to delete three tweets that they believe violate its rules. If he fails to do so, the suspension will be indefinite, according to a statement signed by Jack Dorsey. They are also threatening Trump with a permanent suspension if he violates their policies again.
While his supporters were meeting Wednesday at the Capitol to prevent certification of the Nov. 3 election result, Trump accused his number 2, Vice President Mike Pence, of "not having the courage to do what he should have done", referring to a possible invalidation of the results. In a video posted on his Twitter account later, which YouTube also blocked, Trump urged his followers to "go home", but also legitimized the assault by reiterating that the election was "stolen" and told the assailants "we love you".
The company reacted by tagging the tweet and preventing it from being answered, retweeted or marked "Like" by users. Later it was Facebook who, for the first time in history, deleted a message from the president's account. "We are in an emergency situation and are taking appropriate emergency measures, including deleting a video of President Trump", the network's vice president, Guy Rosen, said, who argued that the video "contributes to the risk of violence, rather than minimizing it". Facebook has also removed all content celebrating the assault on the Capitol, calls to carry weapons to various locations in the United States, videos and photos of protesters on Capitol Hill, and any messages that "attempt to restore violence in the coming days". The label #stormtheCapitol, which had been used to organize the protest, was also banned as "dangerous", a category reserved for terrorism and hate groups.
Facebook has also increased control over private groups, where experts say militarized actions are organized, and messages now require the approval of group administrators, who can also disable hateful comments. It has not prevented hundreds of groups with slogans such as "Stop the Theft" from remaining active and calling for events.
Mark Zuckerberg's firm has also been criticized for allowing armed groups to organize through its channels and for failing to censor messages from Trump that had been flagged by Twitter. Facebook began removing extremist groups from the platform in August but has also been the organization space for Wednesday's protest. "The violent protests on Capitol Hill are a disgrace", a spokesman said. "We are reviewing and deleting all content that incites violence".