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Facebook bans Trump ‘indefinitely’

Update on January 8: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the platform is banning Donald Trump’s account “indefinitely”, since the “risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great”. “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.”

This marks one of the most stringent penalties meted out to Trump by any social media company over the course of his tenure as President.

Earlier on January 7: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have temporarily blocked Donald Trump’s account, after the outbound US President posted content in support of the mob that he incited to attack the US Capitol on Wednesday. Twitter has locked his account for 12 hours, whereas the suspension on Facebook and Instagram will last for 24 hours. Snapchat has also reportedly blocked Trump’s account.

Trump had posted a video on Facebook and Twitter hours after the attack, where he told the rioters “we love you”, that they were “very special”, called results of the US elections “fraudulent”, and said that the election was “stolen away from us”. He ended the video by asking the rioters to “go home and go home at peace”. 

Twitter initially blocked the ability to like comment or retweet the video, but soon removed the video altogether. Twitter also required the removal of three of Trump’s tweets that were “repeated and severe violations” of its civic integrity policy, and warned that if Trump violated this policy in the future, his account would be permanently suspended. 

“This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video,” Guy Rosen, vice president for integrity at Facebook tweeted. “We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.” The platform also removed a subsequent text post about election results. 

“We made the decision that on balance these posts contribute to, rather than diminish, the risk of ongoing violence.” — Facebook on taking down Trump’s video and post

Facebook also said that assessed “two policy violations” against Trump’s Page, which led to his account getting suspended for 24 hours. Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, also took to Twitter to announce that the platform was banning Trump’s account for a similar time period.  

Trump had tweeted the video at around 5 am IST as per TechCrunch, and Twitter promptly removed it within half an hour. 

Facebook also said that it has updated its label on posts delegitimising election results, across its platforms. It said that the new label reads: “Joe Biden has been elected President with results that were certified by all 50 states. The US has laws, procedures, and established institutions to ensure the peaceful transfer of power after an election.” However, even as Facebook claimed to react swiftly to the riots, BuzzFeed News reported that the company blocked employees from commenting on posts related to the attack on the US Capitol.

Also read: 

*Update on January 8: Added information that Facebook has banned Trump indefinitely, headline was changed accordingly. Originally published on January 7.

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