Twitter Has Permanently Suspended @realdonaldtrump
Twitter said the President’s tweets “are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so.”
After years of public pressure and demands to keep a United States president who incites violence and pushes conspiracy theories to his millions of followers off the platform, Twitter on Friday permanently suspended Donald Trump's @realdonaldtrump account in a move that was accelerated by deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol two days earlier.
Twitter announced at 6:21 pm ET Friday that it had “permanently suspended” Trump’s personal account, @realdonaldtrump, two days after he held a massive rally in Washington, D.C., that ended in directing his supporters to march on the Capitol, where Congress was set to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory. A pro-Trump mob then proceeded with a full-blown assault on the Capitol that left at least five people dead.
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” the company said in a statement.
In explaining their reasoning for the decision, Twitter noted, "Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021." There have also been reports that some extremists are planning another attack on Washington on January 19 or January 20, the day of Biden's inauguration.
Trump’s account had already been suspended for a period on Wednesday, after a pro-Trump mob — many of them violent and armed — broke into the U.S. Capitol building, forcing it to go under lockdown and Congress to recess in the middle of certification. After a tense few hours, during which Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress had to evacuate the Capitol, Congress ultimately returned to the building Wednesday night around 8 pm ET to resume certification. They stayed in session overnight and ultimately approved the final electoral college count just before 4 am ET Thursday.
Calls have been mounting on Twitter and other social media platforms to permanently ban Trump for years now, but public pressure to do so has reached new heights since the riot, as well as internal pressure from hundreds of company employees.
In the Friday evening statement, Twitter said, “In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action.”
The statement listed several specific tweets and said they “are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so.”
Twitter did not say if Trump would be allowed to create a new account.
The permanent Twitter suspension came a few hours after Reddit announced it was taking down the massively popular subreddit group r/Donaldtrump.
Other social platforms that have gone after Trump accounts in the last three days in relation to the attack on the Capitol are Twitch and Snapchat (where his account have been disabled), Shopify (which took down online stores affiliated with the president), Facebook and Instagram (which banned Trump posting for “indefinitely and at least” the next two weeks), YouTube (which is “accelerating” its hunt for videos spewing voter fraud claims). Axios reported Friday that TikTok is also “removing content violations and redirecting hashtags like #stormthecapitol and #patriotparty to its community guidelines.”
A Mother Jones reporter tweeted Friday night that the popular messaging platform discord "banned the official discord linked to http://thedonald.win."
"While there is no evidence of the server being used to organize the Jan 6 riots, Discord decided to ban the entire server today due to its overt connection to an online forum used to incite violence and plan an armed insurrection in the United States," reporter Ali Breland tweeted.
Mike Madden contributed to this report.