Update: The day after President Donald’s Trump Twitter account was reinstated after a 12-hour ban, Twitter announced it has “permanently banned” the president.
After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.https://t.co/CBpE1I6j8Y
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 8, 2021
Facebook finally has seen enough of President Donald Trump.
The social media giant is blocking Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts “indefinitely and at least for the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete,” according to a statement Thursday morning from Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (read the full statement below).
In the past, Zuckerberg has taken the stance that Facebook should not censor politicians, believing their words fall under freedom of speech. In an interview with “CBS This Morning’s” Gayle King in 2019, Zuckerberg said, “What I believe is that in a democracy it’s really important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying, so they can make their open judgments. I don’t think that a private company should be censoring politicians or news.”
And that’s a stance he has held firm, for the most part, since then, despite criticism from both outside and inside his company. Some Facebook employees have even quit because of Zuckerberg’s refusal to censor politicians, especially Trump.
After Wednesday’s events in Washington when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump used Facebook (and Twitter) to put out statements. In his announcement banning Trump, Zuckerberg said, “His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world.”
Zuckerberg also alluded to his past stance to allow Trump to say pretty much anything he wanted. He wrote:
“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. But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. 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.”
Trump was given a 12-hour ban by Twitter on Wednesday night into Thursday morning because of false tweets he put as the rioters were storming the Capitol. He removed those tweets and his Twitter account was restored as of Thursday morning.
Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer. For the latest media news and analysis, delivered free to your inbox each and every weekday morning, sign up for his Poynter Report newsletter.