Twitter and Facebook lock Trump's accounts following riots in US capital

Twitter and Facebook have blocked US President Donald Trump’s accounts for policy violations, following violent protests in Washington D.C. which saw a mob of Trump supporters storming Capitol Hill to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s recent election win.

According to the Twitter Safety account, the three tweets were removed for “repeated and severe violations” of the civic integrity policy, which states that users “may not use Twitter’s services for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes”. This includes posting or sharing content that may suppress participation or mislead people about when, where, or how to participate in a civic process. Twitter also said it may label and reduce the visibility of tweets containing false or misleading information about civic processes in order to provide additional context.

Future violations of the Twitter rules, including its civic integrity or violent threats policies will result in permanent suspension of Trump’s account, Twitter said. Meanwhile, the company will continue to evaluate the situation in real-time, including examining on-ground activity and statements made off twitter. “We will keep the public informed, including if further escalation in our enforcement approach is necessary,” it said.

According to multiple media reports including NBC News, one of the tweets contained a video of Trump reiterating baseless claims that "the election was taken from him" and urging supporters to disperse after violence erupted in DC. He added that law and order was needed and told his supporters he loved them. 

At the same time, Facebook also blocked Trump's account for 24 hours citing two policy violations. As a result, Trump will lose the ability to post on the platform during this period of time. The company also removed the video of Trump making baseless claims.

Meanwhile, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai strongly condemned the protests in DC in an email to employees, CNBC reported, saying that the incident is "the antithesis of democracy". He added that the company is monitoring the situation and will update affected employees should it take any precautionary steps that impact offices or buildings. Like Twitter and Facebook, YouTube also removed the video of Trump and his claims.

Photo courtesy: Donald Trump's Facebook page

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