President Trump will no longer be able to use his official Facebook and Instagram accounts after the social media giant indefinitely banned him following the violent protests at the U.S. Capitol, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday.
Mr Trump will be banned at least through the end of his presidential term.
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.
Adding: “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 Facebook allowed Mr Trump to use the platform, while sometimes flagging his posts as misleading, to demonstrate the public’s right to broad access to political speech.
But now, Zuckerberg said, Mr Trump used the platform to “incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.”
“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.
With only 13 days before Mr Biden’s inauguration, many elected officials had voiced concerns that Mr Trump would use his social media account to continue to spread misinformation.
“While I’m pleased to see social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube take long-belated steps to address the President’s sustained misuse of their platforms to sow discord and violence, these isolated actions are both too late and not nearly enough,” Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, said in a statement.
“Disinformation and extremism researchers have for years pointed to broader network-based exploitation of these platforms.”
Twitter on Wednesday froze the president’s account for 12 hours and required him to take down tweets that repeated false claims about the election. The company said if Mr Trump continues to violate Twitter rules he could be permanently suspended.
Twitter initially flagged a video in one of the tweets and blocked Mr Trump’s followers from commenting, retweeting and liking the tweet before taking it down entirely.
The news comes as social media titans have begun taking a heavy-handed approach to Mr Trump’s divisive rhetoric, locking his accounts in an effort some considered as too late.
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