Social media platforms Facebook and Twitter have suspended Donald Trump’s accounts after his supporters carried out a riot at the US Capitol on January 6.
Inciting Comments Spark Outrage
The riots were claimed to be instigated by Trump during a rally at the White House, where he urged his supporters to march on the Capitol and protest the certification of Joe Biden’s win in the last presidential election.
Following the riots, which left a woman dead on the scene and three others, dead after suffering medical emergencies, Twitter and Facebook were forced to lock Trump’s accounts after he sent out messages that seemed to laud the rioters.
The scenes of violence and carnage perpetrated by Trump’s supporters have been widely decried, with President-elect Biden calling it an “insurrection” and demanding that Trump “fulfill his oath, and defend the Constitution and demand an end to the siege.” Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi also condemned the actions of the mob, vowing that the US’s democracy will not be intimidated.
Trump’s Offending Tweets
After the attack on the Capitol, Trump sent out a video message on his social media accounts telling the protesters that they were “very special” and that he loves them, before spilling out his usual unfounded claims that he was “unceremoniously and viciously dumped out of office” through rigged elections.
He later asked the protesters to go home saying: “I know your pain. I know you’re hurt, but you have to go home now. We have to have peace.”
Twitter demanded the removal of these tweets, including the video, for “severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy.” The platform also locked Trump’s account temporarily and threatened to permanently lock the account if the tweets are not removed. Facebook has also banned Trump’s account for 24 hours after they removed the video, saying, “on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”