Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Calls for Trump’s Twitter to be suspended after violence erupts at U.S. capitol

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Twitter on Wednesday said it would lock the account of President Donald Trump for 12 hours after Trump posted tweets continuing to make false claims about the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

The company said it would lock Trump’s account for 12 hours once he removes the tweets in question. Additionally, the company warned that if Trump continues to violate the company’s rules it “will result in the permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.”

Twitter removed two tweets by Trump, making them no longer visible to users. This is the first time that the company has removed tweets by Trump for reasons other than copyright takedowns, the company confirmed.

Among the removed tweets was one containing a video by Trump addressing the Washington rioters. In his recorded statement, Trump falsely claimed that the election “was stolen” before asking rioters to go home.

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That video was also removed by Facebook and YouTube.

“This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video,” Facebook Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen said in a tweet. “We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”

Facebook on Wednesday evening announced additional steps it would take. This includes searching for and removing content that praises or supports the storming of the Capitol, calls to bring weapons to locations around the country, photos or videos from the rioters, calls for additional protests, and any attempts to stage more violence in the coming days.

Facebook said it will update the label it places on content that attempts to delegitimize election results.

“Joe Biden has been elected President with results that were certified by all 50 states. The U.S. has laws, procedures, and established institutions to ensure the peaceful transfer of power after an election,” the updated Facebook text will read.

Google-owned YouTube said it removed the video because it violated policies of alleging widespread fraud changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Election. It will, however, allow copies of this video “if uploaded with additional context and sufficient educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic value.”

Twitter initially placed restrictions on Trump’s tweet containing the recorded statement before the tweet was later removed.

Earlier, Twitter said it would “take action” on any content that calls for violence in regard to the riots happening in Washington.

“Let us be clear: Threats of and calls to violence have no place on Twitter, and we will enforce our policies accordingly,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement.

Additionally, the company said it will significantly restrict engagement with tweets labeled with its Civic integrity policy, which does not allow Twitter users from using the service to manipulate or interfere with elections or other civic processes.

“We are also exploring other escalated enforcement actions and will keep the public updated with any significant developments,” the company tweeted.

Earlier, Facebook said that it was “actively reviewing and removing any content that breaks these rules.”

“The violent protests in the Capitol today are a disgrace,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement. “We prohibit incitement and calls for violence on our platform.”

The statements come as rioters in support of President Donald Trump breached the U.S. Capitol, forcing lawmakers to evacuate.

Calls are mounting for Twitter to shut down the president’s account or take other extreme action. Former Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said it is time for Twitter and Facebook to cut off Trump.

“Twitter and Facebook have to cut him off,” Stamos said. “There are no legitimate equities left and labeling won’t do it.”

Chris Sacca, an early investor in the company, tweeted “You’ve got blood on your hands, @jack and Zuck,” referring to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“For four years you’ve rationalized this terror. Inciting violent treason is not a free speech exercise. If you work at those companies, it’s on you too. Shut it down.”

The ADL issued a statement calling on social media companies to suspend Trump’s accounts “ASAP.”

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