President Donald Trump’s personal account, @realDonaldTrump, was completely and utterly banned from Twitter just days after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol and just 12 days before he left office. The president, who relies on Twitter as his personal communication platform of choice, has been “permanently suspended” because of the risk of inciting further violence.
The president had previously been suspended from Wednesday evening to Thursday for a period of 12 hours. The president made a brief return to Twitter on Thursday night when that ban was lifted. At the time, he shared a video showing prepared remarks condemning the uprising and the Capitol Hill uprising after political figures from both major parties led Trump for incitement to the rampage that certifies the election victory of the President-elect Joe Biden delayed by Congress. On Friday, Trump tweeted that he would not attend Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
“In connection with terrible events this week we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter rules would possibly lead to exactly this procedure,” announced Twitter on Friday evening. The account was immediately deactivated and users of the service will no longer be able to even view the President’s previous tweets.
The platforms’ long-term reluctance to act
Twitter has long resisted banning world leaders like the president for their illegal activities, and instead shielded offensive tweets in warning notices. But on Friday, the company believed Trump had gone too far and permanently canceled his account.
After the wreckage on Wednesday, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitch have suspended Trump until after the election and Shopify has banned its stores from its merchant platform.
Hundreds of Twitter employees signed a letter this week asking CEO Jack Dorsey to permanently ban Trump from his service, the Washington Post reported. The president used his personal Twitter account for official White House business – but he also routinely attacked enemies, spread misinformation, promoted conspiracy theories, increased fringe activists and instigated violence.
A tweet this summer in which the president wrote, “When the looting begins, the shootings begin,” was a not-so-disguised threat of violence against Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, following the murder of George Floyd.
This time it was different
Twitter said this was “glorifying violence” and for the first time hid Trump’s tweet behind a warning sign. This action also removed metrics, likes, and replies from Trump’s account.
Facebook’s inaction about the situation resulted in a payroll in the social media industry where more than 1,000 advertisers boycotted the company over its hate speech policy. Since then, Facebook has gotten decidedly tougher against Trump, culminating in its two-week suspension announced yesterday.
Social media platforms were extremely reluctant to narrow or tone down Trump’s speech during his tenure – even Twitter’s guidelines were only tightened in the last nine months of his tenure.
The Twitter presidency ends
When Trump returned to the platform on Thursday night, he was warned that future tweets that could potentially cause harm would result in a permanent suspension. On Friday, he posted two tweets that Twitter viewed as violating the rules of glorifying violence.
“The 75,000,000 great American patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA BIG AGAIN, will continue to have a HUGE VOTE. You will not be disregarded or treated unfairly in any way, in any form or in any form! “And” For everyone who asked, I won’t go to the inauguration on January 20th. “