The PUNCH had earlier reported that Twitter permanently suspended the President’s account, saying the US leader is too dangerous to use the platform. The unprecedented move, which severs Trump from his 88.7 million followers, is an astounding setback for the president in the chaotic waning days of his administration.
It could also prove an insurmountable hurdle should the brash Republican choose to mount a political comeback in 2024, as he has hinted he could do on multiple occasions. Several other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google, amongst other have also slammed severe sanctions on the outgoing US president who was accused of inciting his followers to attack the Capitol during Congress deliberations to certify the November 3 victory of President-elect Joe Biden.
Back in May, Twitter announced that it would put labels and warnings on posts with disputed or misleading information about the coronavirus. The move is part of a larger strategy that the company has adopted to deal with misinformation on its platform, and it extends to other issues.
Donald Trump Jr.’s Twitter account has been suspended for posting “misleading and potentially harmful” information about the coronavirus, the social media platform said. Twitter said that it has suspended the presidential son’s account for 12 hours as his post on the coronavirus violated the company’s policy on misinformation.
The post in question featured a video in which a group of doctors said that introducing nationwide lockdowns and wearing masks are not needed to stop the spread of coronavirus. We are taking action in line with our policy”, a Twitter spokesperson said, commenting on the company’s decision to suspend Donald Trump Jr.
The news of the suspension was first reported by Trump Jr.’s ally, Republican strategist Andrew Serbian, who said that Twitter ’s decision showed that the social media giant poses a “threat to free expression” and accused the platform of election interference. Donald Trump has a complicated relationship with the American big tech companies Google, Facebook, and Twitter, which he has accused of bias against conservatives and of censoring their voices.
In May, Trump threatened to “strongly regulate” or even close down social media platforms that fail to maintain an ideological balance after Twitter put a warning on one of his tweets. In the post, Trump criticized the riots in Minneapolis, during which demonstrators looted shops, defaced buildings, and burned them.
Trump had initially tried to relay a message to his followers using the official President of the United States Twitter account, but they were deleted within minutes. In the four-tweet thread, the president claimed that Twitter was not a network for free speech and said that he was now in talks to set up his own social media platform following his suspension.
However, the Trump 2020 campaign Twitter account was the next to receive a suspension after it tweeted the president’s message amid increasingly desperate efforts to reach his following. Trump had initially had initially appeared to find a way around his permanent Twitter ban by using the POTUS handle before his tweets were swiftly deleted.
They are all about promoting a Radical Left platform where some of the most vicious people in the world are allowed to speak freely,' Trump managed to fit in before his tirade was quickly shut down. Minutes after the tweets were deleted, an official statement was issued to the White House press pool repeating his claims.
Twitter had announced on Friday night it has permanently banned Trump's account, claiming in a blog post that it was due to the risk of 'further incitement to violence', after the president's supporters rioted through the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. 'So the ayatollah, and numerous other dictatorial regimes can have Twitter accounts with no issue despite threatening genocide to entire countries and killing homosexuals etc... but The President of the United States should be permanently suspended,' he added in a second tweet.
Twitter has long given Trump and other world leaders broad exemptions from its rules against personal attacks, hate speech and other behaviors. But in its lengthy statement the company said recent Trump tweets amounted to glorification of violence when read in the context of the Capitol riot and plans circulating online for future armed protests around the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The social media platform has been under growing pressure to take further action against Trump following Wednesday's deadly insurrection at the US Capitol that led to the deaths of five people. Twitter initially suspended the president's account for 12 hours after he posted a video that repeated false claims about election fraud and praised the rioters who stormed the Capitol.
Trump was reportedly livid at being blocked from Twitter, and complained to aides that he could not send messages to his followers, sources told the Daily Beast. The company also announced the decision after hundreds of Twitter employees signed a letter to CEO Jack Dorsey asking for the account to be removed as Trump continued to praise the Capitol rioters.
Twitter confirmed Friday that several hundred employees signed the letter saying they were disturbed by the 'insurrection' carried out by Trump supporters, who had been rallied by the president. 'Despite our efforts to serve the public conversation, as Trump's megaphone, we helped fuel the deadly events of January 6th,' the employees wrote.
As the events unfolded this week, Dorsey himself was vacationing on an island in French Polynesia but called into meetings about how to deal with Trump's account, according to the New York Times. At the same time, there were reports that social media app Parker crashed as it appeared that Trump's followers fled to the more conservative-leaning platform, abandoning Twitter.
The company also said Trump attorney Lin Wood was permanently suspended on Tuesday for violating its rules, but provided no additional details. The company says that when it determines a group or campaign is engaged in 'coordinated harmful activity' it may suspend accounts that it finds primarily encourages that behavior.
YouTube also announced more general changes that will penalize accounts spreading misinformation about voter fraud in the 2020 election, with repeat offenders facing permanent removal. Twitter's shares had already dropped Thursday after the 12-hour ban suggesting that it may be hit by the loss of Trump's followers if they begin to look to other platforms.
The 89 million followers on Trump's main Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, represented nearly 48 percent of the company's total base of magnetizable daily active users at the end of the third quarter. Twitter's stock losses reflect investors broader concerns about what the platform will be in a post-President Trump world, WSJ reported.
It comes as the site faces other uncertainties with engagement, which skyrocketed in 2020 amid a volatile political climate and the coronavirus pandemic. Now that COVID-19 vaccines have arrived and a more moderate president is taking office, Twitter is expected to see engagement drop precipitously, closer to where it was early last year.
In an extraordinary blog post, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg accused Trump of using the platform 'to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government'. Zuckerberg said the president used his Facebook page 'to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building' and that allowing him to freely post in the final 13 days of his term would pose too great a risk.
'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,' he wrote. '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.
Trump had tweeted just twice on Friday, announcing his refusal to uphold tradition by going to Biden's swearing in as his remaining aides and allies described him as a 'total monster' and 'mad King George' as his presidency ends in chaos. Trump isolated himself from his staff and the Republican Party, holed up in the Oval Office with a bunker mentality as aides pleaded with him to send a message of healing to the country in the aftermath of the MAGA mob storming Capitol Hill.
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. However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things.
Due to the ongoing tensions in the United States, and an uptick in the global conversation in regard to the people who violently stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, these two Tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President's statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks. President Trump's statement that he will not be attending the Inauguration is being received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate and is seen as him disavowing his previous claim made via two Tweets (1, 2) by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Dan Saving, that there would be an 'orderly transition' on January 20th.
As such, our determination is that the two Tweets above are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so.