Twitter has banned President Trump from its platform permanently, following an initial ban of 12 hours.
Social media platforms have been under increased fire in the way of Wednesday’s insurrection at the US Capitol. While Twitter and Facebook have long been slow to ban political figures in the name of public interest, many critics and experts have blamed Trump’s rhetoric for inciting the insurrectionists. As a result, calls mounted for Twitter and Facebook to take more aggressive action to ban Trump and cut him off from his preferred method of communication.
Facebook announced on Thursday that it would ban Trump for the remainder of his presidency. In the post announcing the decision, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained the reasons.
We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.
Twitter has now taken an even stronger stance, banning Trump permanently from its platform.
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.https://t.co/CBpE1I6j8Y— Safety (@Safety) January 8, 2021
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.
Social media firms are under increased scrutiny for their role in society’s ills, with many politicians on both sides of the aisle wanting the protections afforded by Section 230 rolled back.
It remains to be seen if Twitter and Facebook’s actions will be enough to stave off significant regulatory changes.