Social media sites Facebook and Twitter have taken the unprecedented move and banned Donald Trump from posting to their sites temporarily.
This comes after the President of the United States incited a riot in Washington D.C. as the Senate was confirming the electoral college votes from the 2020 election.
Trump has been on thin ice with the platforms for a long time, with many of his most inflammatory statements being posted in tweets and statuses. Recently, both sites began placing citations at the bottom of his posts relating to the US election, explaining that they were false.
However, the President appears to have crossed a line with the sites after tweeting support for rioters who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, January 6.
Facebook gave Trump a 24-hour posting ban and removed two of his posts sympathising with the rioters. Twitter gave the President a 12-hour ban but said that if his offensive posts aren’t removed they will keep it in place, making it permanent.
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. https://t.co/k6OkjNG3bM
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 7, 2021
Social media companies acknowledging their position
The 2020 elections and Donald Trump’s actions have been a turning point for many social media companies. Previously, under the banner of free speech, such sites allowed almost all posts to remain up as long as they didn’t violate very narrow community guidelines. These guidelines were also often dismissed for public figures as the sites said even compromising posts were in the public interest.
However, the extent to which Donald Trump and his Republican allies have pushed social media companies to reckon with their contribution to violence and political unrest, resulting in the current warnings, suggestions and removals seen today.