Facebook and Instagram have blocked President Donald Trump’s accounts indefinitely, and at least until after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20th. “We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.
Both platforms locked Trump’s accounts for 24 hours on Wednesday evening over policy violations, preventing him from posting anything on Facebook or Instagram.
Amid the riots that took place at the Capitol on Wednesday as Congress met to certify the results of the presidential election, Trump posted a video on various platforms in which he praised his supporters. Facebook and YouTube both removed the video. Snapchat and Twitter also temporarily suspended his accounts, with the latter warning that it would ban Trump permanently if he continues to violate its policies.
Here’s Zuckerberg’s full statement:
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.
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.
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.
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. But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.
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.