Facebook on Thursday blocked President Donald Trump from its social networking platforms for at least two weeks, just one day after a mob of MAGA supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol as Congress met to confirm Joe Biden’s victory.
In a statement, founder Mark Zuckerberg said that after the events of the last 24 hours, the tech giant believes the president “intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden.” As a result, the company is blocking his accounts on Facebook and Instagram “indefinitely”—and for at least the next two weeks—until the peaceful transition of power is complete.
“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 statement.
Zuckerberg also slammed the president for using Facebook to support the pro-Trump rioters who broke into the typically secure building and invaded the Senate chambers on Wednesday. One woman was shot to death in the chaos, three others died from medical issues, and dozens more were injured as a result of the violent riot that forced dozens of elected officials to evacuate and shelter in place for hours.
“Following the certification of the election results by Congress, the priority for the whole country must now be to ensure that the remaining 13 days and the days after inauguration pass peacefully and in accordance with established democratic norms,” Zuckerberg said. “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,” the Facebook CEO added.
Facebook’s decision to remove Trump comes one day after Twitter locked the president’s accounts in the wake of the riots. Twitch, a video live streaming service, also disabled Trump’s account on Thursday, saying the platform needs to protect its users from the president’s “incendiary rhetoric” and ensure it is not used “to incite further violence.”
In a Wednesday statement, Twitter wrote, “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. The account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets.” The ban came after Trump released a short and sympathetic video on Twitter that told his supporters “you’re very special,” while asking them to leave the Capitol area.
In a separate tweet, Trump continued with his election lies, writing, “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots.”
YouTube and Facebook ultimately removed the video from Trump’s accounts for violating their rules. In a statement to The Daily Beast, YouTube said Trump’s video “violated our policies regarding content that alleges widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Election.”
And while Twitter threatened to permanently suspend Trump’s account should future violations occur, it seems the outgoing president will gain access to his favorite social media platform before getting back on Facebook.