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Twitter, Facebook suspend Trump from posting; Twitter threatens permanent ban

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Delphine Luneau | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – President Donald Trump saw his Facebook and Twitter account suspended Wednesday evening after the nation’s two dominant social media platforms accused him of inciting violence through his posts.

Twitter was the first to act, issuing a minimum 12-hour ban with a threat that it could become permanent if Trump didn’t delete three offending Tweets.

“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,” the @TwitterSafety account posted. “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,” Twitter added.

A little over an hour later, Facebook followed suit, slapping Trump’s account with a 24-hour ban.

“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,” the Facebook Newsroom account posted on Twitter.

The three posts that Twitter objected to featured Trump’s statements about the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday by his supporters following a rally at which he spoke. One tweet featured a video in which he came close to praising those who forced their way into the building through smashing windows, saying “We love you, you're very special. … I know how you feel, but go home and go home in peace."

In a followup Tweet, Trump said of the violence: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”

The moves by Twitter and Facebook to sanction Trump were likely to inflame his ongoing fury against them. Twitter especially has drawn the president’s ire over the past few months as it began to apply warning labels to his tweets that disputed the result of the Nov. 3 election.

The spat between Trump and the social media giants led him to demand the repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which provides some protections for internet-based companies so that they’re not automatically liable for the content posted by their users.

Trump had demanded the repeal of Section 230, arguing that such a move would stop Facebook and Twitter from censoring conservatives. He vetoed a defense authorization bill in December after Congress refused to insert a repeal of Section 230 into the bill; the House and Senate later overturned his veto, the first time both chambers had done so during his presidency.