In the wake of Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol by followers of President Trump, Facebook and Twitter both deleted a minute-long video posted by Trump praising the rioters and repeating his claim that the election was being stolen from him. Twitter and Facebook haave also temporarily disabled the president’s account.
The mob had rushed the Capitol in an effort to disrupt the formal counting of electoral votes which would seal the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. They had been urged on by Trump and dozens of Republican legislators who announced their intentions to object to the count.
“I know your pain, I know your hurt,” Trump said in the video. “We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side.”
“We have to have peace,” added the president. “So go home. We love you. You’re very special."
“This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video,” announced Guy Rosen, a Facebook official. “We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”
Facebook later announced they had disabled the president from posting for 24 hours, stating, “We've assessed two policy violations against President Trump's Page which will result in a 24-hour feature block, meaning he will lose the ability to post on the platform during that time.”
Approximately an hour later, Twitter also removed the video, along with two other tweets where Trump falsely repeated that the election was stolen and encouraged his supporters who forced a lockdown and evacuation of the Capitol to “remember this day forever.”
“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,” announced Twitter’s Safety account. “This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets. If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked. Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.”
Trump has posted 56,566 tweets and retweets since 2009 and has 88 million followers, making him the sixth-most-followed individual overall. Barack Obama, with 128 million followers, has the most.
Trump and other Republicans have complained that Twitter and Facebook censor posts that reflect a conservative point of view. Before and since the November election both companies have become more active in labeling Trump’s tweets as disputed or misleading.
D.C. police announced Wednesday evening that a woman who was shot during the siege of the Capitol died from her injuries. Thirteen arrests were made in connection to the day’s events.
Trump had urged his followers to travel to Washington to attend the rally, which he promised would be “wild.” In an hour-long speech on the Ellipse that began at noon, he said, “We’re going to walk down [to the Capitol] and I’ll be there with you. … We’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much some of them.”
In fact, Trump returned to the White House after his speech and did not appear again in public except in the video.
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