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President Trump Gives Remarks at the 36th Annual National Peace... The shocking events of the last 24hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power.
We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Joining us now is Bloomberg congressional government reporter Laura Davidson.
Twitter has also had a ban on a suspension of Trump's account that will run out sometime today. So we're really seeing shift here where social media companies really just two months ago were very hesitant to call out falsehoods or other misinformation.
After a mob of pro- Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., during a joint session of Congress, Facebook took the unprecedented step of indefinitely blocking the president's account. As pressure mounts and social media companies are being forced to respond to their alleged culpability in the events that unfolded, some experts say now can be a moment of reckoning and change for these tech giants that have been left largely unregulated in the arena of political speech.
As the world watched the violence unfold in horror, President Donald Trump shared a video on his social media accounts telling the protesters “we love you” and “you’re very special” as he told them to go home. “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.
But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post. Pro- Trump protesters breached security at the Capitol and disrupt members of Congress convened to debate the certification of the election in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.
While some expressed shock at the events that unfolded at what was originally called a peaceful Trump rally, social media experts say the hostility that broke into violence has been breeding online for years. Social media abuse and hatred has been linked to real-world violence elsewhere in the world, Gabriel noted, citing the attacks against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
“Unfortunately, what we’ve seen over the last four years since Trump has taken office is a systematic neglect from platforms to take effective action in their policies to prevent social media abuse from the President of the United States,” Gabriel added. President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.
“What we need is federal propaganda regulation to ensure their president is not able to propagandize the people in this way, and to control the media in such a way that it makes it difficult for the free press to hold the government accountable,” Gabriel said. Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the current the director of the digital innovation and democracy initiative at the German Marshall Fund think tank, told ABC News that she is hopeful this can be a moment for change for companies that have been left largely unregulated.
Pro- Trump protesters storm into the U.S. Capitol during clashes with police, during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021. Echoing Gabriel, Kornberg said that the old practice of social media giants playing “whack-a-mole” with content after it's already been posted has proven ineffective.
The social media companies’ moves come after years of complaints that Trump faced little or no consequences for regularly violating their user policies. 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.
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. 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.
But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government. Tasks Katopodis/Getty Images Facebook will “indefinitely” block President Donald Trump from its platforms, saying his posts pose an unacceptable risk in the wake of a harrowing attack by his supporters on the US Capitol.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerbergannounced the unprecedented move on Thursday, a day after rioters stormed the legislative heart of America's democracy as Congress met inside to certify Joe Biden as the next president. “We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.
“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.” Facebook isn't the only social network taking action on accounts or posts belonging to or relating to Trump.
To varying degrees, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Reddit and others have blocked, labeled or deleted posts or accounts over the last several days. Facebook's ban, which followed an earlier 24-hour block, represents the company's strongest action against Trump's use of social media to spread misinformation, stir grievances and incite violence.
The social media giant, which owns photo-sharing app Instagram, has had a mostly hands-off approach to political speech, exempting politicians from fact-checking. Instead, Facebook allowed some of Trump's controversial posts to remain visible or added labels to his baseless claims of election fraud.
“The current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.” Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said Thursday the steps taken by Facebook and Twitter -- as well as by YouTube -- were “too late and not nearly enough” to curb the problem.
Former first lady Michelle Obama called on Silicon Valley companies to “stop enabling this monstrous behavior,” permanently ban Trump, and create policies to prevent technology from “being used by the nation's leader to fuel insurrection.” On Thursday, Trump shared a statement via White House social media director Dan Saving that said an “orderly transition” of power would occur on Jan. 20.
This intensification of enforcement could accelerate his account's termination if the channel continues to run afoul of the rule. Last month, YouTube instituted a policy to remove any new videos alleging that fraud altered the outcome of the 2020 US presidential election.
On Wednesday, some Gab users documented themselves going into the offices of Congress members and called for people inside the building to hunt down Vice President Mike Pence, who Trump had criticized earlier in the day, The New York Times reported. “We expect everyone on our platform to follow our community guidelines, and content and accounts that violate our policies are removed,” the company said in a statement.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy against hate and violence of any kind on the platform, or the use of Discord to support or organize around violent extremism,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. The sites said the video, in which Mr. Trump seemingly sympathized with protesters and repeated false claims about the election, contributed to ongoing violence and violated misinformation policies.
“As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy,” it said in a tweet, adding a link to the policy, which bans “manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes” or posting false information about them. Facebook had initially said Wednesday that Mr. Trump would not be able to post on the platform or Instagram for 24 hours, before extending the ban Thursday.
Guy Rose, who oversees Facebook's work on safety and integrity, tweeted Wednesday that the social media site took down Mr. Trump's video as part of “an emergency situation.” Facebook also stated Wednesday it is searching for and removing any content “praising and support” of the rioting in Washington, D.C.
The video has remained live on the Trump campaign's Parker page, where it gained 1.3 million views as of Wednesday evening.