Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that President Donald Trump will be blocked from his own Facebook and Instagram accounts “for at least the next two weeks” until President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office.
“The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.
“His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world. We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect — and likely their intent — would be to provoke further violence.”
Zuckerberg said the priority for the country now should be to make sure that the transition process and the inauguration “pass peacefully and in accordance with established democratic norms.”
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Zuckerberg said.
“Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”
This is Big Tech’s first extended move against the president’s social media following the incursion of the Capitol Wednesday, but other companies had also taken temporary action.
Twitter removed three tweets and suspended Trump’s account for 12 hours, according to NBC News. Among the tweets that the social media giant decided could not be shown was a video from the president trying to quell the violence at the Capitol.
The suspension expired as of early Thursday morning. However, there were no new tweets posted as of mid-morning Eastern Time.
Facebook and YouTube also took down the video, in which Trump repeated his contention that the election was irreparably marred by fraud and misconduct, with YouTube claiming in a statement that it violated “policies regarding content that alleges widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome.”
Twitter said that if Trump further violates its rules, the company could further suspend the president’s personal Twitter account, which Trump has used as a major vehicle to communicate with his millions of supporters.
Facebook temporarily blocked Trump’s account for 24 hours on Wednesday before the company decided to extend the block on Thursday.
“Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies. We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech,” Zuckerberg wrote.
“But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.”
Facebook also said it would label any posts claiming Trump won the election.
“President Trump has a responsibility to call for an end to this violence and unrest that he has sowed. His campaign of disinformation is a clear and present danger to our democracy,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said.
“But until such time as that happens, social media companies should suspend his accounts ASAP as they would do for anyone else advocating disinformation and promoting violence. It’s time.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.