UPDATE, 5:31 PM PT: President Donald Trump posted a message on the official government Twitter account @POTUS, blasting the platform for banning @realdonaldtrump and vowing, “We will not be silenced!”
Trump also said that they are “negotiating with “various other sites,” and even looking at the possibilities of “building out our own platform in the near future.”
Twitter announced on Friday evening that it was permanently suspending the @realdonaldtrump account, citing Trump’s potential to incite violence. Twitter initially said that it would keep the @POTUS account active but would continue to monitor it. Within minutes after posting, Trump’s tweets disappeared from that account, too. Twitter said that they violated rules that prohibit using another account to evade suspension.
Donald Trump Says He Won't Attend Joe Biden's Inauguration; Calls Grow For Him To Resign Or Be Removed From Office
In his @POTUS tweet, Trump wrote, “As I have been saying for a long time, Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech, and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me — and YOU, the 75,000,000 great…
“…patriots who voted for me. Twitter may be a private company, but the government’s gift of Section 230 they would not exist for long. I predicted this would happen. We have been negotiating with various other sites, and will have a big announcement soon, while we …”
“…also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future. We will not be SILENCED! Twitter is not about FREE SPEECH. They are all about promoting a Radical Left platform where some of the most vicious people in the world are allowed to speak freely…
The @POTUS and @WhiteHouse accounts will transfer to Joe Biden’s administration on Jan. 20.
In a statement, Google said, “In order to protect user safety on Google Play, our longstanding policies require that apps displaying user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement that removes egregious content like posts that incite violence.
“All developers agree to these terms and we have reminded Parler of this clear policy in recent months. We’re aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the US. We recognize that there can be reasonable debate about content policies and that it can be difficult for apps to immediately remove all violative content, but for us to distribute an app through Google Play, we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content. In light of this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app’s listings from the Play Store until it addresses these issues.“
PREVIOUSLY: Twitter has suspended the account of President Donald Trump permanently, citing the risk of further incitement to violence amid increasingly vociferous calls for the president to step down.
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
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 8, 2021
Twitter blocked Trump from the platform Wednesday after “repeated and severe violations” and threatened permanent suspension. That day his supporters stormed the Capitol following a rally he addressed, stirring them up over his loss to President-elect Joe Biden. In tweets as the violence against lawmakers was ongoing, he called the mob “very special” and posted a video again insisting the election had been stolen.
Twitter agreed to reinstate his account after the tweets were removed, with a 12-hour delay. Trump released a video Thursday night in which he attempted to be conciliatory. He was said be planning to release another video this evening but now will not have the chance it seems, at least on Twitter.
Trump has 88 million Twitter followers and it’s been his preferred method of communication for the past four years.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Shortly after the announcement, Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., wrote on the platform, “We are living Orwell’s 1984. Free-speech no longer exists in America. It died with big tech and what’s left is only there for a chosen few. This is absolute insanity!”
On Fox News, Tucker Carlson opened his show by claiming the Twitter ban was a “crackdown on America’s civil liberties,” even though Twitter is a private company. “Actions taken to suppress extremism will cause it,” Carlson said.
Twitter had been under pressure for years to take more aggressive action to limit Trump’s tweets, but refused to do so, citing the company’s guidelines that give world leaders more leeway that regular users.
According to Twitter, if Trump tries to use another account for the purposes of evading the ban, it also will be subject to suspension. The platform will continue to keep government accounts, such as @POTUS and @WhiteHouse, active but will take action to limit their use. The accounts will be transferred to the next administration, and Twitter said that they will not be suspended unless absolutely necessary if there is sign of real world harm.
Trump has repeatedly said that Twitter and other social media platforms are an important way for him to speak to followers and bypass traditional media. His bombastic comments and grievance tweets have been part of his public identity since well before he even ran for office, but once he did, they were an unending source of headache for his aides and Republican allies asked to defend them. In fact, Trump’s tweets became kind of a joke among Capitol Hill beat reporters, who routinely were tasked with trying to get reaction from lawmakers on the president’s latest remark, only to be told they had not seen it.
After Twitter began slapping labels on his tweets in June, he railed against Silicon Valley platforms and issued an executive order aimed at repealing Section 230, which gives internet companies immunity for the way that they moderate third party content. But the FCC has not acted on a proposal to modify Section 230, and is losing its Republican majority once Joe Biden takes office.
Also today, Reddit banned its subreddit group r/Donald Trump after “repeated policy violations in recent days regarding the violence at the U.S. Capitol.
Facebook on Thursday blocked Trump’s account indefinitely and at least for the next two weeks to ensure a smooth transition to power.
Another platform, Parler, has drawn many Trump supporters who claim other social media companies are biased against them. But Apple has threatened to remove the service from its app store unless it changes its content moderation policies.
Twitter’s move was applauded by some of Trump’s staunchest critics, but others said that Trump’s final 12 days have far greater concerns than 280 character posts. “If you can’t be trusted with a Twitter account, you shouldn’t be trusted with the nuclear codes,” wrote Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), who is among the lawmakers working on Articles of Impeachment against Trump.
Here’s what Twitter wrote in its message explaining the permanent suspension:
After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.
In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action. Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open.
However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things. We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement.
The below is a comprehensive analysis of our policy enforcement approach in this case.
On January 8, 2021, President Donald J. Trump tweeted:
“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!!!”
Shortly thereafter, the President tweeted:
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Due to the ongoing tensions in the United States, and an uptick in the global conversation in regards to the people who violently stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, these two Tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks. After assessing the language in these Tweets against our Glorification of Violence policy, we have determined that these Tweets are in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy and the user @realDonaldTrump should be immediately permanently suspended from the service.
We assessed the two Tweets referenced above under our Glorification of Violence policy, which aims to prevent the glorification of violence that could inspire others to replicate violent acts and determined that they were highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
This determination is based on a number of factors, including:
- President Trump’s statement that he will not be attending the Inauguration is being received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate and is seen as him disavowing his previous claim made via two Tweets (1, 2) by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Dan Scavino, that there would be an “orderly transition” on January 20th.
- 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.
- The use of the words “American Patriots” to describe some of his supporters is also being interpreted as support for those committing violent acts at the US Capitol.
- The mention of his supporters having a “GIANT VOICE long into the future” and that “They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” is being interpreted as further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an “orderly transition” and instead that he plans to continue to support, empower, and shield those who believe he won the election.
- Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 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.
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