Twitter bans Trump from platform, emphasizing concerns about violence

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Twitter has banned President Donald Trump from its platform for tweets violating its glorification of violence policy.

The permanent suspension comes after Twitter locked the president’s account following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in addition to two tweets referencing the presidential election and inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

“Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open,” the company said Friday in a statement.

“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.”

Twitter also banned @TeamTrump, an account used by the Trump campaign.

The president has used Twitter as a tool to share his administration’s actions as well as his thoughts on current events, including unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud he and allies said impacted the election.

Trump tweeted Friday that people who voted for him will have a “GIANT VOICE long into the future” and “will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form.” The president later tweeted he would not be attending the inauguration ceremony later this month.

Twitter noted the tweets need to be read in a broader context given the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol. The platform also stated concerns about the president’s supporters interpret his tweets, including as a possible call to incite violence.

“Ater assessing the language in these Tweets against our Glorification of Violence policy, we have determined that these Tweets are in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy and the user @realDonaldTrump should be immediately permanently suspended from the service,” Twitter said.

Twitter’s policies state users cannot glorify violence against a person or group of people, noting it could lead to further actions.

The Verge first reported if Trump uses a government account like @POTUS to tweet, Twitter would limit the account’s use. A suspension would be issued if needed to prevent violence.

Trump, using the @POTUS account, denounced Twitter and called the act an example of banning free speech.

“Twitter may be a private company, but without the government’s gift of Section 230 they would not exist for long. I predicted this would happen,” Trump tweeted.

“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! Twitter is not about FREE SPEECH. They are all about promoting a Radical Left platform where some of the most vicious people in the world are allowed to speak freely.”

Twitter later removed the president’s thread.

The president has pushed lawmakers to repeal Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which protects online companies from lawsuits over users’ content. Trump initially refused to sign the National Defense Authorization Act because Congress did not address Section 230 in the national security bill.

Some lawmakers have called for Twitter to act against the president; Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., called on Twitter to ban Trump until after Inauguration Day following Wednesday’s riot.

“Thank you @twitter for taking this action,” Manchin tweeted Friday. “We must come together as a country to heal and find a common path forward.”

Trump, who had around 89 million followers at the time of his suspension, has used his platform to try to influence Capitol Hill and elections; ahead of West Virginia’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate three years ago, Trump urged voters to oppose former coal executive Don Blankenship. The president has also endorsed Republican lawmakers via Twitter, including Gov. Jim Justice, whom the president calls “Big Jim.”

Trump went after Manchin multiple times using tweets. He posted a string of criticisms last February because of Manchin’s votes in the impeachment trial.

Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook owns, have suspended Trump until after the inauguration. Snapchat locked Trump’s account, and the livestreaming platform Twitch has disabled the president’s channel. E-commerce company Shopify has shut down two stores selling Trump memorabilia.





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