President Donald Trump has been banned from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms following the chaos that transpired on Capitol Hill Wednesday after hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters gathered for a massive march that was largely peaceful and filled with the hope that the Washington D.C. establishment would finally hear and listen to their voices.
— Dan Scavino🇺🇸🦅 (@DanScavino) January 6, 2021
The unprecedented move by the unregulated social media behemoths appears to blame the storm at the nation’s Capitol squarely on President Trump.
Twitter was the first social media platform to lock the president out of his account for at least twelve hours, stating, “As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy.”
Twitter placed a short label on the three posts that read “This Tweet is no longer available,” and signaled Trump’s account would remain blocked unless the offending posts were removed. It said future violations of its rules would result in a permanent suspension. Near the time of his account suspension, Trump also posted a tweet urging the crowd to remain peaceful and respect the law. Twitter stated the president must delete the tweets they required removed for his account to be reinstated, which it confirmed on Thursday he had done. President Trump’s most recent tweet is below.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2021
One of the banned tweets included a video of Trump urging his supporters to “go home now.” He added, “We have to have peace. We have to have law and order.” The video amassed more than 13 million views.
Soon after Twitter’s ban, Facebook declared it had banned Trump from posting to his Facebook profile for 24 hours. They also removed several of the president’s posts. Next, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, made the same decision. Zuckerberg announced the ban on Facebook writing, “The shocking events of the last 24 hours 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.” By Thursday, Facebook and Instagram said they were banning Trump indefinitely.
YouTube also pulled the video posted by Trump. Later on Thursday, the Google-owned company further tightened their policy that the president’s video violated. Last month, YouTube established a policy to remove any new videos asserting that fraud altered the 2020 presidential election outcome, a well-documented topic the president spoke of in his video late Wednesday but is largely unreported by mainstream media outlets. YouTube said that starting Thursday, videos that violate policy will be issued a “strike” and will be temporarily suspended from posting or live streaming. YouTube’s “three strike” rule bans channels with three violations in a 90-day period.
Twitch joined in and disabled Trump’s account Thursday as well, remarking that it would “reassess his account after he leaves office.” A twitch spokesperson said in a statement, “In light of yesterday’s shocking attack on the Capitol, we have disabled President Trump’s Twitch channel. Given the current extraordinary circumstances and the President’s incendiary rhetoric, we believe this is a necessary step to protect our community and prevent Twitch from being used to incite further violence.”
Snapchat followed suit, though without any stipulation on duration. Snap spokeswoman Rachel Racusen said in a statement, “We can confirm that earlier today we locked President Trump’s Snapchat account.” The president won’t be able to share new content until Snap decides to lift the restriction, she said, noting that his account was locked on Wednesday before he posted a now-removed video to other social media sites saying the election was “stolen” and addressing rioters.
After months of destruction and rioting across the nation with no repercussions, the response to President Trump’s presence on social media comes with just 13 days remaining in his current four-year term and may offer us a glimpse into what may soon happen to our own civil liberties in the not too distant future.