The social platforms prevented the president from accessing his accounts for the first time after he posted a video on both websites expressing “love” for the pro-Trump protesters in Washington, D.C., who stormed the Capitol on Thursday afternoon, telling them to “go home in peace.”
Facebook and Twitter removed the video and proceeded to lock Trump from his accounts for 24 hours and 12 hours, respectively.
Some on the left, however, are saying the platforms were complicit in the violence that occurred at the Capitol Wednesday for stoking political divides and extremism online, while others on the right say the websites were wrong to remove a video of the president calling for peace.
Washington, D.C., police said late Wednesday that the security breach at the U.S. Capitol resulted in four deaths — including a woman who had been shot — and at least 52 arrests.
The platform has been removing posts that express “praise and support of the storming of the US Capitol,” make calls to bring weapons to places “across the U.S.,” incitement of violent events at the Capitol and so on. It is also adding labels to posts about the 2020 presidential election across Facebook and Instagram.
“As a part of this, we removed from Facebook and Instagram the recent video of President Trump speaking about the protests and his subsequent post about the election results. We made the decision that on balance these posts contribute to, rather than diminish, the risk of ongoing violence,” the company wrote in a Wednesday blog post.
Twitter similarly said in a Wednesday tweet that the website has been “significantly restricting engagement with Tweets labeled under [its] Civic Integrity Policy due to the risk of violence.”
“This means these labeled Tweets will not be able to be replied to, Retweeted, or liked,” Twitter said, adding that it is “exploring other escalated enforcement actions and will keep the public updated with any significant developments.”
Trump’s account “will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these tweets,” Twitter said, and “if the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked.”
It is unclear whether Trump has removed the tweets.
Some users called on the president to join Parler, a website that touts itself as a “free speech” platform because it does not censor content.