After Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol, the short message service Twitter said it had permanently blocked the most important account of the elected US president. The reason is the “risk of further incitement to violence,” said Twitter on Friday evening (local time). Twitter has been Trump’s most important communication platform.
He used the platform several times a day to address his supporters and the global public directly. More than 87 million people followed the president on his @realDonaldTrump account.
Critics accuse Trump of inciting his supporters to attack the Capitol at a rally on Wednesday. Five people were killed in the riot. The tweets on the @realDonaldTrump account were no longer accessible on Friday evening. Instead, the message “Account locked” appeared there. Twitter specifically listed two tweets from the President on Friday to justify the new ban.
In one of these tweets, Trump wrote – partly in capital letters – that the 75 million “great American patriots” who would have voted for him in the election would have a “powerful vote” well into the future. They would not be disparaged or treated unfairly in any way. In a second tweet, Trump announced that he would stay away from the inauguration of his successor Joe Biden on January 20.
Twitter rated the combination of both tweets as suitable to inspire people to act violent in the style of storming the Capitol. The short message service argued, among other things, that Trump’s suggestion that he was not attending the swearing-in ceremony could serve as an encouragement to those who might be considering acts of violence “that the swearing-in is a ‘safe’ goal,” because Trump himself wasn’t there is present.
Plans for future armed protests are already being spread on Twitter and elsewhere, it said. Among other things, there is talk of a proposed further attack on the Parliament seat on January 17th.
After the riots at the Capitol on Wednesday, Twitter had already blocked the @realDonaldTrump account for twelve hours because tweets from the president had “repeatedly and seriously” violated the platform’s guidelines. The short message service threatened Trump with a permanent ban if these tweets are not removed.
Among other things, a video was affected in which Trump called on his supporters to withdraw from the Capitol they stormed – but at the same time repeated his unsubstantiated claims about alleged election fraud. In another tweet, Trump wrote in view of the riots of his supporters in parliament: “These are things and events that happen when a holy landslide victory is stolen so suddenly and meanly”. Twitter justified the permanent ban with new tweets.
Facebook announced on Thursday that it would ban Trump until further notice. Trump’s accounts on the online network and also on the Instagram photo platform should remain blocked for at least two weeks or until the handover to his successor Joe Biden, as Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday. Initially, Facebook had blocked Trump for 24 hours.
Twitter, in particular, has so far limited itself to warning notices at Trump because the service regards the President’s contributions as historical documents. In the past few months, Twitter and Facebook had warned Trump of false information on numerous posts and in some cases also restricted their distribution. The outgoing president then accused the platforms of political censorship.