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In a blog post, Twitter said its decision to suspend President Donald Trump's account was due to the fact he was "likely to inspire" more violence like that seen at the US Capitol.
His tweets, the company said, "are being received and understood as encouragement to do so."
While the president's claimed his right to "free speech" was being violated, free speech advocates defended the right of private company's to air the content of their choosing.
"Today's news, while a day late and a dollar short, is welcome. I urge other social-media companies to follow suit immediately," Jessica J. González, co-CEO of the group Free Press, said in a statement.
Twitter decided to permanently suspend President Donald Trump's account after concluding that his posts were being read as incitement to commit future acts of violence like that seen at the US Capitol this week.
In a blog post explaining its decision, the social media company said the president's tweets following the Capitol Hill insurrection appeared to lend support to extremists and violate its policy against the glorification of violence.
In particular, Twitter said it was concerned with how the president's posts on Friday were being interpreted by the far-right as coded approval for their actions, and thus "likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021."
Trump's use of the term "American Patriots" to describe his supporters, and his stated refusal to attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, were both interpreted as a not-so-subtle insistence, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that the 2020 election was stolen, the company said.
Twitter also specifically wrote: "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."
According to NBC News, there has been discussion on social media about coming back to Washington, DC, on January 17 and January 20, the day of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.
Donald Trump Jr., the president's son, immediately cried foul, claiming, on Twitter, that the removal of his father marked the death of free speech.
But private media platforms are not governed by the First Amendment, nor is compelling private companies to air the thoughts of a politician consistent with most notions of free speech.
Jessica J. González, co-CEO of the advocacy group Free Press, said Trump's suspension was long overdue.
"From the launch of his presidential campaign when he defamed Mexicans as rapists, criminals and drug dealers, to the desperate last gasps of his presidency as he has egged on white supremacists to commit violence and insurrection, Trump had used his Twitter account to incite violence, lie about the election outcome, encourage racists and spread conspiracy theories," she said in a statement. "He did not deserve a platform on Twitter, or on any other social or traditional media."
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