Risk of his posts 'too great': Facebook, Instagram extend ban on Trump's account till transition is complete
Washington, Jan 07: In an unprecedented move, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said on Thursday that President Donald Trump''s accounts on its popular social media platforms - Facebook and Instagram - would remain suspended until the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on January 20.
Announcing the decision, Zuckerberg said the risk of allowing President Trump to continue to use the platform during this period is "simply too great."
Trump''s account will be locked "for at least the next two weeks", he said.
The possibly first ever blocking of a head of a State by Facebook comes in the wake of the unprecedented storming of the US Capitol by Trump's supporters on Wednesday and thus disrupting the constitutional process of counting and certification of the Electoral College votes of the presidential elections.
Four people, including a woman, have died in the clashes between protesters and police. Police had to use tear gas inside the US Capitol, where properties were vandalized and ransacked by the violent mob.
"The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden," Zuckerberg said in a post on Facebook.
"His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world. We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect -- and likely their intent -- would be to provoke further violence," he wrote.
Following the certification of the election results by Congress, the priority for the whole country must now be to ensure that the remaining 13 days and the days after inauguration pass peacefully and in accordance with established democratic norms, said the Facebook founder.
"Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies. We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech," he explained.
"But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government," he said.
"We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete," Zuckerberg said.
This is for the first time probably that Facebook has taken such an extreme step to ban and block the social media handles of a head of the State and that too of the United States.
Facebook earlier on Wednesday blocked the president''s account from posting for 24 hours due to two policy violations.
On Wednesday, Twitter also blocked Trump's account for 12 hours and removed three of his tweets including a video.
"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," Twitter said.
"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," it said. The 12 hours period expired on Thursday.