Trump promises to create own social media platform after Twitter bans president permanently

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Trump uses his mobile phone as he participates in a roundtable discussion in June
Trump uses his mobile phone as he participates in a roundtable discussion in June

Donald Trump suggested he could start his own social media platform in order to reach the 88 million followers he can no longer talk to on Twitter.

Many of the president's supporters were moving to other lesser known forums which are less stringent on policing inflammatory political comments.

After his personal Twitter account was banned, Mr Trump used the official presidential one - @POTUS - to promise them he would be in touch shortly.

He said: "We have been negotiating with various other sites and will have a big announcement soon, while we also look at the possibility of building out our own platform in the near future...STAY TUNED!"

Since Twitter began adding warnings to Mr Trump's tweets claiming election fraud his advisers had been warning that a permanent ban could be coming, and have been working on contingency plans.

In a statement Twitter said it had closely reviewed the president's recent tweets "and the context around them - specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter."

The social media giant said it had acted "in the context of horrific events this week" and "due to the risk of further incitement of violence".

Specifically, it cited Mr Trump's tweet on Jan 8 saying his voters would have a "GIANT VOICE long into the future" and one saying he would not attend the inauguration.

Twitter said: "We have determined that these tweets are in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy.

"They were highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021."

It also said that Mr Trump 's tweet that he would not be at the inauguration might serve as "encouragement" to those considering violent acts, indicating that it would be a "safe" target as he was not attending.

Trump speaking to the crowd before it marched on the Capitol Building
Trump speaking to the crowd before it marched on the Capitol Building

Twitter also said his use of the term “American Patriots” to describe some of his supporters was being interpreted as support for the attack on the Capitol, and plans for future armed protests had already begun proliferating on the network.

That included "a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17."

A spokesman for Twitter said: "Our determination is that the two tweets are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so."

Jared Holt, who studies domestic terrorism at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab, said: "They [social media platforms] tiptoed around the issue for years. I guess we found out what the breaking point was, which was insurrection."

Mr Trump has been a member of so-called free speech network Gab since August 2016, and regularly posts there the same messages he shares on Facebook and Twitter there. But his recent posts have only gathered an average of 1,500 likes.

Gab founder Andrew Torba aid it had experienced tens of thousands of signups since Wednesday. The company claimed on Saturday it had reached 10,000 new members per minute since Mr Trump's announcement.

There was widespread anticipation Mr Trump would turn to Parler, another similar outlet billed as a free speech network.

However, Google took Parler off its App Store late on Friday, saying there was an "ongoing and urgent public safety threat."

A Google spokesman said: "We're aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the US."

Apple was reportedly considering a similar move against Parler, meaning Mr Trump would struggle to reach a large audience.

Shortly before it was shut down Mr Trump's @TeamTrump campaign account directed its 2.3 million followers to Parler.

Facebook announced on Thursday that it was suspending Mr Trump until at least Joe Biden's inauguration, while Snapchat has suspended him indefinitely.

Cindy Otis, former CIA officer and disinformation expert, said: "I think he will try to get back on Facebook because of the attention it allows.

"Most people who are on Parler haven’t left their mainstream accounts and use them both because they miss ‘arguing with liberals’ - and there aren’t any on Parler."

Mr Trump first started using Twitter on May 4, 2009, posting a tweet promoting his upcoming appearance on David Letterman's TV chat show.

Peter Costanzo, who worked for Mr Trump's publisher at the time, pitched using Twitter to him as a way of promoting a book he had out.

Mr Costanzo, who made a seven-minute pitch, said: "I said 'Let's call you @realDonaldTrump - you're the real Donald Trump. He thought about it for a minute and said 'I like it. Let's do it'.'

Sam Nunberg, a former adviser to Mr Trump, said that in 2011 he would send daily reports on the number of new followers, and Mr Trump would respond "Why not more? Why so slow?".

Mr Nunberg said: "Twitter definitely played a pivotal role in building Donald Trump as a political figure within Republican politics and he also greatly enjoyed it

"He used to say 'I wanted to own a newspaper. This is great, it's like a newspaper."

Mr Trump's most popular tweet was on Oct. 2, 2020 when the president announced he had contracted the coronavirus. It got 1.8 million likes and nearly 400,000 retweets.

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