Twitter announced Friday that the platform will permanently suspend President Trump’s account effective immediately.
Driving the news: It’s Twitter’s strongest-ever action against the president’s account and comes in response to the “risk of further incitement of violence,” per the company. The move comes after Wednesday’s siege at the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob as Congress was set to certify Electoral College votes for Joe Biden.
What they’re saying:
- “In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action,” the company said in a blog post.
- “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.”
- “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.”
Context: The company decided to ban the president after it reanalyzed his last two tweets on Friday in the context of “ongoing tensions in the United States” and how people may respond to them.
- It determined that the tweets violated its the Glorification of Violence Policy.
- The company temporarily suspended Trump’s account on Wednesday for continuing to post false claims that the 2020 election had been stolen from him as a mob assaulted the Capitol in his name.
Our thought bubble, via Axios’ Ina Fried: Many people have been calling for this, but it’s also a significant financial risk for Twitter.
- The move is guaranteed to send complaints from the right that the technology industry is biased against conservatives into overdrive.
The big picture, via Axios’ Kyle Daly: With Democrats about to hold all the levers of power in Washington, tech platforms feel freer — and more obligated — to crack down on incendiary right-wing figures on their platforms without fear of political reprisal.
- Facebook has already hit Trump with an indefinite suspension lasting at least through President-elect Biden’s inauguration.
- Apple on Friday threatened to remove right-wing-friendly social media app Parler from its App Store if it doesn’t lay out a plan to moderate content.
By the numbers: The president amassed 88.7 million followers on his personal account at the time of its ban.
Of note: The president would have likely been banned anyway after Jan. 20 due to losing his world leader status, but his recent behavior pushed the platform over the edge.