Twitter says it has “permanently suspended” the account of U.S. President Donald Trump, citing a risk of him inciting further violence.
“In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action,” read a statement posted on Twitter’s blog.
“Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open.”
Twitter on Friday also appeared to ban a plethora of accounts belonging to far-right extremists or QAnon conspiracy theorists, including former national security advisor Michael Flynn and pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell.
In its statement, the social media company cited Trump’s recent tweets on Jan. 8 and determined that they were in violation of their “Glorification of Violence Policy,” leading to the president’s ban.
“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” read Trump’s first tweet.
It was later followed by another tweet confirming he would not attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“We assessed the two Tweets referenced above … and determined that they were highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021,” read Twitter’s statement.
In response to Twitter’s takedown, the president issued four tweets from the official @POTUS account, where he falsely claimed that Twitter employees coordinated with Democrats to suspend him.
“Twitter may be a private company, but without the government’s gift of Section 230 they would not exist for long,” read the tweets, which have since been deleted the platform.
“We have been negotiating with various other sites, and will have a big announcement soon, while we also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future.”
Those tweets were also issued as a statement to reporters at the White House.
The statement was also tweeted out from the Trump campaign account, but has since been deleted and the account suspended.
Both Facebook and Instagram also extended a ban on Trump’s accounts Thursday for at least the next two weeks, according to CEO Mark Zuckerbeg.
In a post Thursday, Zuckerberg said that the ban would be in place until the “peaceful transition of power is completed,” adding that Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol proved Trump intended to use his remaining time in office to undermine the transition to his successor, Joe Biden.
Several tech companies on Friday began cracking down on pro-Trump and far-right groups, with Reddit banning unofficial Trump subreddit r/donaldtrump and Google Play removing social media app Parler from its store — a platform with a significant base of Trump supporters, conspiracy theorists and far-right extremists.
Parler has also been deleted from the Apple App store, 24 hours after a warning was issued to the platform to “remove all objectionable content” from the app.”
News of the warning was first reported by Buzzfeed News Friday and confirmed by Reuters, and had also cited that participants on the platform as part of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday.
Gaming messaging app Discord also removed the pro-Trump server “The Donald” from its platform, which was first reported by tech reporter Casey Newton and later confirmed by The Verge.
Twitter previously suspended Trump’s account on Wednesday for 12 hours after the president tweeted incendiary remarks falsely disputing the outcome of the November election.
Those remarks led directly to an assault from a pro-Trump mob on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. in an effort to disrupt Biden’s confirmation as Trump’ successor, leaving at least five people dead and many more injured.
In the aftermath of the attack, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for Vice-President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, with others from both the Republican and Democratic side condemning the mob as well as Trump’s role in inciting the violence.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the violence on Friday as well, characterizing Wednesday’s actions as “an assault on democracy by violent rioters, incited by the current president and other politicians.”
Several key members from the White House have since resigned from their posts, including two members of Trump’s cabinet.
— With files from Reuters