Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have also ‘indefinitely’ suspended the outgoing president, citing fears of ‘further violence’
After essentially shitposting his way through a four-year presidency, it seems Donald Trump has been kicked off Twitter for good. The platform had already suspended his @realDonaldTrump account temporarily, following the storming of the US Capitol by a MAGA mob on Wednesday (January 6), but doubled down on the ban on Friday, after Trump continued to violate its rules.
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” reads a statement from the social media platform.
“We made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action.”
Trump was originally locked out of his account for 12 hours, in relation to the Capitol building breach, which left five dead as Trump supporters clashed with police. Prior to the temporary suspension, Trump wrote: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly and unfairly treated for so long.”
After the restrictions on his account had passed, he added: “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
This tweet, Twitter says, “is being interpreted as further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an ‘orderly transition’”. The Washington Post also reports that hundreds of Twitter employees wrote a letter to CEO Jack Dorsey, requesting a permanent suspension for Trump, as well as an investigation into how the platform acted as his “megaphone”.
Even after the @realDonaldTrump account was permanently banned, he seemingly continued to tweet from the official @POTUS account (which will be transferred to Biden on Inauguration Day) and his campaign account, @TeamTrump. In accordance with Twitter guidelines, both were subsequently suspended, and the posts – one reading “We will not be SILENCED!” – have been removed.
Facebook and Instagram, alongside Snapchat and Twitch, have also taken action since the attempted insurrection in Washington D.C., banning Trump “indefinitely”. TikTok, meanwhile, has banned videos of the incident and blocked related hashtags (although it wasn’t exactly Trump’s fave app in the first place).
Some experts, however, have suggested that the social media apps’ actions come too late. “What happened this week is the product of four years of systematic propaganda from the presidency,” Jennifer M Grygiel, a social media expert and professor of communication at Syracuse University, tells the Guardian.
Jim Steyer, an organiser who campaigns to hold social media companies accountable, adds: “The violence that we witnessed... in our nation’s capital is a direct response to the misinformation, conspiracy theories and hate speech that have been allowed to spread on social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.”
In the last couple of years alone, Facebook has launched a series of crackdowns against white nationalist content, far-right conspiracists, and misinformation from groups such as QAnon, which have proliferated on mainstream platforms over the last few years.