Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, 7 January, announced that after the US Capitol Siege by supporters of outgoing US President Donald Trump, the social media giant would be extending the block placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely, ‘and for at least next two weeks’. Zuckerberg cited the use of the platform ‘to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government’ as the reason for the extended ban.
Earlier, Trump’s account had been temporarily blocked by Facebook for 24 hours and Twitter had done the same for 12 hours after he sent out messages backing his supporters who stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday. Facebook-owned app, Instagram had also previously locked Trump’s account for 24 hours, the company’s head said in a statement.
Taking to Facebook on Thursday to issue a statement, Zuckerberg wrote about Trump saying, “His 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.”
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO
Like Facebook, Twitter had locked Trump out of his account for 12 hours, adding that it required the removal of three tweets for ‘severe violation of our civic Integrity policy’. Twitter also said that if the tweets were not removed, the president's account would remain locked for good, reported BBC.
While making false claims about election fraud, Trump, in a series of tweets told the protesters ‘I love you’ before telling them to go home.
His video message to the protesters was also removed from Facebook and YouTube.
Facebook in a statement said that it removed the messages because it ‘increases the risk of violence’.
Both Twitter and Facebook had also removed several posts of Trump that cast doubt on the election results and lauded his supporters. Twitter also threatened to put a permanent ban on his account after he violated their social media policies.
YouTube Removes Videos
YouTube has removed several videos that the US President Donald Trump has posted on his channel and issued a stern warning stating that, any channel found to be posting three times within 90 days with false claims on the US election results will be permanently removed from the Google-owned video platform.
Specifically, YouTube has removed a video of President Donald Trump addressing a mob attack on the Capitol on 7 January, because the president repeats false information about the outcome of the 2020 election.
"Over the last month, we've removed thousands of videos that spread misinformation claiming widespread voter fraud changed the result of the 2020 election, including several videos that President Trump posted on Wednesday to his channel," Google said in a statement.
“Due to the disturbing events that transpired on Wednesday and given that the election results have been certified, any channel posting new videos with these false claims in violation of our policies will now receive a strike, a penalty, which temporarily restricts uploading or live streaming,” it said.
"Channels that receive three strikes in the same 90-day period will be permanently removed from YouTube," Google said in its statement.
Trump's YouTube channel has 2.68 million subscribers. Following the violence that erupted at the US Capitol after his supporters stormed the building, YouTube has removed most of his videos from the rally he addressed earlier in the day.
YouTube believes that those videos alleging widespread fraud in the 2020 elections violated its policies.
YouTube said that the grace period was supposed to expire on January 21, after Inauguration Day. But since the election results have been certified, after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, the Google-owned video platform says it's ending the grace period now.
What Happened in Washington?
Pro-Trump protesters stormed the US Capitol in Washington DC, on Wednesday, in scenes that were broadcast live on multiple news channels across the world.
Members of both Houses of the US Congress were meeting to conduct the vote certifying the electoral college victory of Joe Biden in the US presidential election. Both Houses had to be evacuated, before the Senate reconvened later.
Several hours after the crisis began, the Capitol police finally managed to clear the mob from the building after 5:30 pm (EST), with the Capitol’s Sergeant-at-Arms confirming the building was secure, according to CNN.
The incident led to the death of four people, including one woman succumbing to a gunshot wound. Several reports suggested people being hospitaised with tear gas injuries, baton marks and multiple fractures.