Trump forced to concede through advisers after being locked out of social media

7 January 2021, 11:54

Donald Trump
US Election 2020. Picture: PA

The US president had to issue a statement via a member of White House staff after Facebook and Twitter locked him out of his accounts.

Donald Trump has been forced to commit to an orderly transition of power to Joe Biden through a statement from an adviser after the US president was locked out of his social media accounts.

The president’s deputy chief of staff for communications tweeted a message from Mr Trump which said he “totally disagrees” with the election result but conceded that there would be a smooth transfer to a Biden administration.

Quoting Mr Trump, White House adviser Dan Scavino tweeted: “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th.

“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted.

“While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”

Mr Trump has previously used his own Twitter account to announce a number of major political decisions, including policy changes and the hiring and firing of senior government officials.

The statement came after the US Congress formally validated Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.

Social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, temporarily locked Mr Trump’s accounts after he addressed supporters who stormed the US Capitol.

The president earlier posted a video to protesters, urging them to go home, while also repeating claims of election fraud and telling them “We love you”.

Twitter responded by locking his account for the first time and demanded he remove tweets excusing violence, while also threatening him with “permanent suspension” from the platform.

Facebook also announced that it had assessed two “policy violations” on Mr Trump’s page and had blocked him from posting for 24 hours.

The president’s supporters attacked the US Capitol building on Wednesday and clashed with police.

Twitter Safety posted: “As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington DC, we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our civic integrity policy.

A screengrab from Donald Trump's Twitter account
(Twitter/@realDonaldTrump)

“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.

“Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our civic integrity or violent threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.”

Twitter had earlier added a warning to the outgoing president’s video, which read: “This claim of election fraud is disputed, and this tweet can’t be replied to, retweeted, or liked due to a risk of violence.”

Mr Trump’s since-deleted video was viewed more than 10 million times in less than an hour on Twitter.

Facebook said in a statement posted on Twitter: “We’ve assessed two policy violations against President Trump’s page which will result in a 24-hour feature block, meaning he will lose the ability to post on the platform during that time.”

Facebook’s vice president of integrity Guy Rosen, meanwhile, tweeted that Mr Trump’s video had been removed entirely from the platform.

“We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence,” he said.

YouTube said it had also removed the video from Mr Trump’s account for violating its policies on election integrity, and confirmed it would begin issuing “strikes” against the president’s channel if any further breaches occurred.

The Google-owned video platform operates a three-strike system where channels are suspended for an increasing duration at each strike until they are eventually permanently removed.

YouTube spokesperson Farshad Shadloo said: “We removed a video posted Wednesday afternoon to Donald Trump’s channel that violated our policies regarding content that alleges widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 US election.

“We do allow copies of this video if uploaded with additional context and sufficient educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic (EDSA) value.”

In further action against him, a Snapchat spokesperson confirmed the platform had “locked President Trump’s Snapchat account”, having stopped promoting the account to users last year.

By Press Association