Social media giants Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on Wednesday temporarily blocked outgoing United States President Donald Trump’s accounts for policy violations after his supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington DC and clashed with the police.
Twitter blocked Trump for 12 hours and also threatened to impose a permanent ban on him as he continued to post conspiracy theories related to the 2020 election results. Facebook, on the other hand, locked Trump’s account for 24 hours.
“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 said. “Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the account.”
Twitter said that it will continue to evaluate the situation on the ground and statements made on its platform. “We will keep the public informed, including if further escalation in our enforcement approach is necessary,” it added.
Facebook said it had taken note of two policy violations by Trump’s account. “This will result in a 24-hour feature block, meaning he will lose the ability to post on the platform during that time,” Facebook said. Trump was also blocked from Facebook-owned social networking service Instagram for 24 hours.
At a rally, Trump had urged his supporters to march to the Capitol, according to The Washington Post. He also hit out at Vice President Mike Pence for failing to overturn election results in his favour. Twitter removed three of Trump’s posts.
Twitter also sought to restrict the reach of tweets fueling the violence, AFP reported. “We have been significantly restricting engagement with tweets labeled under our Civic Integrity Policy due to the risk of violence,” the Twitter support team said.
A mob entered the Capitol building earlier in the day as members of the Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential elections, which Joe Biden won. A woman was shot dead inside the Capitol. The incident triggered shock in the US and across the world.
Lawmakers put on gas masks and crouched under their desks as the police tried to secure the complex. The House was evacuated at first, but it reconvened hours later to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.
The Trump campaign and its supporters have tried to overturn the results of the presidential elections repeatedly, with the outgoing president refusing to concede his defeat. A controversy erupted on Monday after a call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was made public. Trump was heard asking Raffensperger to “find him 11,780 votes” to overturn election results in the state.
The US Electoral College had last month confirmed Biden’s victory in the presidential elections, closing the doors for Trump to challenge the result. Biden is set to take charge as president on January 20.