Twitter on Friday permanently suspended outgoing United States President Donald Trump’s account, citing the “risk of further incitement of violence”. Trump’s Twitter account was first blocked for 12 hours on Wednesday, after thousands of his supporters stormed the US Capitol in Washington DC, and clashed with the police.
The permanent ban was related to Trump’s personal Twitter handle @therealDonaldTrump. The microblogging and social networking service said in a statement that its action against Trump was based on two tweets from Friday afternoon.
In the first tweet, Trump said: “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!!!”
Twitter added that Trump’s description of his supporters as “American Patriots” was being seen as support for those who indulged in violence at the Capitol.
It also said that Trump saying that his supporters had a “giant voice” and that “they will not be disrespected or treated unfairly” indicated that he would not allow an “orderly transition” to President-elect Joe Biden’s administration and continue to shield those who believe he won the 2020 presidential election.
In his second tweet, Trump said that he would not attend Biden’s inauguration on January 20. Twitter said that a large number of Trump’s supporters were seeing this post as “further confirmation” that the 2020 elections were not legitimate. “The second tweet may also serve as encouragement to those potentially considering violent acts that the inauguration would be a ‘safe’ target, as he will not be attending,” Twitter said.
The social-networking service added: “As such, our determination is that the two tweets above are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so.”
Soon after permanently banning Trump’s account, Twitter also suspended the account belonging to his campaign. This happened after the account tweeted a statement by Trump, accusing the microblogging site of restricting free speech, according to Reuters.
Apart from Twitter, Facebook and its sister company Instagram had also blocked Trump’s accounts for policy violations. Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg had on Thursday said that both the platforms would extend the ban on Trump’s account for an indefinite period.
At a rally on Wednesday, Trump had urged his supporters to march to the Capitol. A mob had later stormed the Capitol building as members of the Congress were meeting to certify the results of the 2020 presidential elections.
Videos on social media showed the mob shattering the Capitol’s windows and entering the building. One of the rioters even went and sat in the well of the Senate. 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 Biden’s election victory.
Five people died in the violence, including a police officer, and at least 68 were arrested. The incident triggered shock in the US and across the world. Several officials related to the White House and security forces tendered resignations following the incident, while members of Trump’s Cabinet were reportedly discussing the possibility of removing him from the office.