Capitol Attack: Facebook, Instagram ban Trump

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Facebook and Instagram have banned US President Donald Trump from posting on their system.

The suspension is aimed at silencing Trump until the presidential transition is completed.

The decision by Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg comes after Facebook announced on Wednesday it would lock Trump’s account for 24 hours as tech giants scrambled to crack down on his baseless claims about the presidential election and hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol.

“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

In light of Wednesday’s riot, Zuckerberg said a more aggressive approach is needed.

“The current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government,” he wrote.

Zuckerberg said Trump’s account will be locked “for at least the next two weeks” but could remain locked indefinitely.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, will also block Trump’s ability to post on its platform “indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks,” Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram tweeted Thursday.

Twitter Inc and Snap Inc also temporarily locked Trump’s accounts on Wednesday.

As the siege of the Capitol escalated, civil rights groups including the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change called for social media companies to suspend Trump’s accounts permanently.

Social media companies have been under pressure to police misinformation about the US election on their platforms, including from the president.

Trump and his allies for months have amplified baseless claims of election fraud, driving the organizing for Wednesday’s demonstration.

In a video posted to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on Wednesday, which was later deleted by the platforms, Trump repeated these claims as he told protesters to go home.

Facebook has previously been blasted by lawmakers and employees for not acting on inflammatory posts from Trump, including those that have been labeled by Twitter.

Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University communications professor and an expert on social media, said Wednesday’s events in Washington, D.C. are a direct result of Trump’s use of social media to spread propaganda and disinformation, and that the platforms should bear some responsibility for their inaction.

News Agencies

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