Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced the social network has suspended US President Donald J. Trump’s account indefinitely, following the shocking scenes of violence and insurrection in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.
In a post on his personal page, Zuckerberg said Trump used Facebook to “incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government” and, as a result, has blocked his account for “at least the next two weeks.”
While the page is still active and accessible to the public, Trump will not be able to post until his access is restored.
The drastic action came after the firm removed multiple Trump posts during the shocking scenes unfolding in the nation’s capital. Protesters stormed the Capitol building where the US legislators were certifying the results of November’s general election, which saw Democrat Joe Biden defeat the incumbent Republican Trump.
Facebook has long been under pressure to do something about Trump’s use of the platform to spread misinformation, but the social network had insisted the posts were “consistent with our own rules,” with the exception of content it labelled or removed when those policies were violated.
Now Zuckerberg says yesterday’s actions, which involved Trump posts viewed to be condoning the insurrection and violence, have crossed the line.
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He writes: “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.”
Attention will now turn to Twitter and whether it will take similar action. The company continues to label his tweets containing misinformation, restricts the sharing of others and has outright removed others seen to be inciting hate or violence.
Previously the company has said Trump enjoys special protections as a world leader whose posts are in the public interest. However, it has warned Trump will be treated like a private citizen as soon as he leaves office later this month.