UPDATED 12/8, 9:05 p.m.: Donald Trump made a brief return to Twitter on Friday, just hours after the platform announced the permanent suspension of @realDonaldTrump.
As pointed out by Bloomberg reporter Josh Wingrove, the outgoing president released a series of messages through the official @POTUS account, which will be assigned to Joe Biden once he takes office. Trump's since-deleted tweets accused the platform of "banning free speech" and claimed the company was coordinating with the "radical left" in an attempt to silence him. Trump reiterated his call to repeal Section 230 and suggested he was exploring the possibility of launching his own social media platform.
"As I have been saying for a long time, Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech, and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me — and YOU, the 75,000,000 great patriots who voted for me ..." he tweeted. "I predicted this would happen. We have been negotiating with various other sites, and will have a big announcement soon, while we also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future ... We will not be SILENCED!"
— Josh Wingrove (@josh_wingrove) January 9, 2021
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The social media platform announced the decision Friday, just days after pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol, resulting in property damage, a slew of arrests, and multiple deaths. The attack took place as lawmakers were set to certify Joe Biden's presidential victory, which Trump publicly contested through baseless claims of election fraud.
"After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," Twitter wrote in a statement. "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."
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.https://t.co/CBpE1I6j8Y
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 8, 2021
Lawmakers and legal experts have argued the president should be held responsible for Wednesday's insurrection, as he had urged his supporters to march to the Capitol earlier that day. Hours after the riots began, Trump took to Twitter to share a sympathetic message for his mob of supporters.
"I know your pain. I know you’re hurt," he 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. You have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt."
The tweet was removed later that day and Trump was locked out of Twitter for 12 hours.
Though the outgoing president has consistently used social media to spread lies, hate, and conspiracy theories, Twitter initially said it would not suspend his account because he was protected under its policy for world leaders. But this week's deadly events prompted the platform to take strong action.
"Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly," Twitter wrote Friday. "It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open. However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things. We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement."
The Twitter suspension comes after Mark Zuckerberg announced Trump had been banned from Facebook and Instagram "indefinitely." The tech mogul cited the president's response to the Capitol riots as the primary reason behind the move and said Trump will be blocked from the platforms for at least two weeks until Joe Biden is sworn into office.
"We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great," Zuckerberg wrote. "[Trump's] decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world. We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect—and likely their intent—would be to provoke further violence."
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