Twitter banned President Donald Trump’s account Friday, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence” following the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
Twitter has long given President Donald Trump and other world leaders broad exemptions from its rules against personal attacks, hate speech, and other behaviors. But in a detailed explanation posted on its blog Friday, the company said recent Trump tweets amounted to the glorification of violence when read in the context of the Capitol riot and plans circulating online for future armed protests around the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The social platform has been under growing pressure to take further action against Trump following the Wednesday violence. On Wednesday, Facebook suspended Trump’s account through Jan. 20 and possibly indefinitely. Twitter merely suspended Trump’s account for 12 hours after he posted a video that repeated false claims about election fraud and praised the rioters who stormed the Capitol.
Twitter’s move deprives President Donald Trump of a potent tool he has used to communicate directly with the American people for more than a decade. He has used Twitter to announce policy changes, challenge opponents, insult enemies, praise his allies and himself — and to flirt with inciting violence and denounce targets of his ire in all-caps missives.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The official account for the President of the United States, @potus, remains live.
In the President Donald Trump tweets cited by Twitter, Trump stated that he will not be attending the inauguration and referred to his supporters as “American Patriots,” saying they will have “a GIANT VOICE long into the future.”
Twitter said these statements “are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as an encouragement to do so.”
The company said that plans for future armed protests were already circulating online, including a proposed follow-up attack on the U.S. Capitol and state capitol buildings on Jan. 17.
Twitter said its policy enables world leaders to speak to the public, but that these accounts “are not above our rules entirely” and can’t use Twitter to incite violence. Trump had roughly 89 million followers.