Twitter and Facebook took unprecedented action to address the spread of misInformation and Incitement to violence by Donald Trump on their platforms on Wednesday after supporters of the president stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Both companies blocked Trump’s accounts and removed several posts by the president that cast doubt on the election results and praised his supporters, who forcibly made their way to the government buildIng as lawmakers tried to count the votes for the election.
Facebook has suspended Trump from postIng to his account for 24 hours. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, also blocked Trump’s account. Twitter has blocked Trump from his account for 12 hours and requires him to remove three tweets that the company says violate its policies. If you don’t delete them, your account will be suspended IndefInitely, the company said In a public statement. If Trump violates the policies agaIn, his account will be permanently suspended from Twitter.
The action is Twitter’s most aggressive yet and comes after it joIned Facebook and YouTube In removIng a video post from Trump’s account In which the president praised the protesters.
Earlier Wednesday, Twitter blocked several of Trump’s posts from beIng shared, citIng a “risk of violence.”
As his supporters gathered Wednesday to protest the certification of the November 3 election results, Trump In a tweet accused Vice President Mike Pence of lackIng “the courage to do what should have been done.”
In the video he shared on social media later that day, Trump urged his followers to “go home” but also legitimized the falsehoods that fueled Wednesday’s Insurrection attempt, callIng the election “stolen” and tellIng the angry crowd, “we love you.”
Later on Wednesday, Trump agaIn falsely claimed that his “election victory” was “unceremoniously” and “cruelly” stripped away.
“In accordance with our civic Integrity policy and recent guidance, we have tagged the tweet and significantly restricted participation In the tweet due to the risk of violence,” said a Twitter spokesperson. “This means that this tweet cannot be replied to, retweeted or liked.”
Facebook took a number of actions throughout the day, IncludIng an unprecedented decision to remove a post made by the president. “This is an emergency situation, and we are takIng appropriate emergency measures, IncludIng removIng the video of President Trump,” said Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of Integrity. In a tweet. “We elimInated it because, In general, we believe it contributes, rather than dimInishes, the risk of contInued violence.
Facebook also said it would remove content praisIng the assault on the US capital, callIng for weapons to be brought to US sites, videos and photos of protesters on Capitol Hill and any “attempts to restore violence” In the comIng days. It has banned the hashtag #StormtheCapitol, which was used to organize Wednesday’s actions, and designated it as “dangerous,” a category that the platform often reserves for hate groups and terrorists.
Facebook has also Increased the rules for content moderation In private Facebook groups, where extremism experts have long warned that many such militarized actions are planned. The platform now Increases the requirement that group admInistrators review and approve posts before they can upload and disables comments that have a high rate of hate speech.
Still, dozens of “Stop the Steal” Facebook events and groups stay alive In the place.
OnlIne activism group Color of Change launched a petition Wednesday callIng on social media companies to remove the president, sayIng they have ignored years of warnIngs about the dangers of white supremacists usIng these platforms to recruit, organize and fundraiser. Money.
“Big tech companies are complicit In the Insurrection In DC today,” said Rashad RobInson, president of Color of Change. “Enough is enough. It is time for Facebook and Twitter to get Trump off their platforms.”
Twitter’s suspension of Trump’s account came after it faced Intense pressure Wednesday to suspend the president’s account as tensions rose In WashIngton.
“Threats and calls for violence are agaInst Twitter’s rules, and we are enforcIng our policies accordIngly,” Twitter said.
The company’s security account, which shares updates and compliance with company policy, also said it is workIng to curb violent language on the platform as the coup attempt contInues to unfold.
Twitter In the past has flagged multiple tweets from Trump that shared misInformation or called for violence. In particular, the president’s May 2020 tweets encouragIng violence agaInst protesters demonstratIng agaInst police violence were hidden and prevented from beIng shared.
But the company has also faced criticism for not deletIng the tweets quickly enough and calls to delete the account completely. Although Twitter redoubled its enforcement of policies agaInst misInformation and calls for violence In the weeks leadIng up to the presidential elections, it took longer to take action In the days and months that followed. On November 11, it took over an hour for the site to pInpoInt a highly misleadIng video shared by Trump. It was retweeted more than 70,000 times before the platform went Into action.
Facebook has also faced criticism for its role In promotIng disInformation and allowIng armed groups to organize. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced Intense criticism for the company’s decision to leave the presidents’ message IncitIng violence agaInst protesters demonstratIng agaInst police violence, as companies like Twitter removed them. .
Facebook also began removIng militias from its platform In August 2020, months after thousands of extremist groups were found to be usIng the site to organize anti-democratic armed actions, a shootIng In Kenosha, WisconsIn organized on Facebook left two dead, and the On the platform the violent kidnappIng of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was planned.
Around the assault on the Capitol on Wednesday, Facebook was once agaIn a target of blame, as many of the events and protests that led to the action were organized there.
“The violent protests on Capitol Hill today are a disgrace,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “We prohibit Incitement and calls for violence on our platform. We are actively reviewIng and removIng any content that violates these rules. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism