Donald Trump banned from Facebook until end of Presidency

7 January 2021, 16:03 | Updated: 7 January 2021, 17:40

Trump has been banned from Facebook until he is no longer President
Trump has been banned from Facebook until he is no longer President. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Mark Zuckerberg has banned Donald Trump from Facebook and Instagram until he is out of the Oval Office, saying the risk of violence is "too great".

The social media platform's CEO made the decision after thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington DC yesterday, after Trump repeated his unfounded claims about voter fraud and a stolen election at a rally nearby.

It culminated in hundreds laying siege to the Capitol buildings, breaking into the Senate chamber and destroying offices of Representatives.

But despite being urged to condemn their actions and call for peace, Trump said he "loved" the rioters and "understood" why they were doing what they were doing.

In response, Twitter yesterday barred him from posting at all for 12 hours, and threatened him with permanently blocking him from the platform if he did not remove the incendiary tweets and video.

Writing on his own platform, Mr Zuckerberg said it was clear that Mr Trump intended to use his remaining time in office "to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden".

"We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great," Mr Zuckerberg said.

Read more: Home Secretary Priti Patel condemns US violence as 'shocking beyond words' on LBC

"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."

Mr Trump's incendiary comments have been blamed for directly provoking violence from a mob loyal to the president when they stormed the US Capitol in a failed attempt to overturn the election result and prevent Joe Biden taking to the White House.

The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining...

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, January 7, 2021

Home Secretary Priti Patel said his statement, in which he said "We love you" to the rioters and repeated his baseless claims of electoral fraud, did "very little to de-escalate the situation".

"His comments directly led to the violence and so far he has failed to condemn that violence and that is completely wrong," the Home Secretary said.

Mr Trump's personal Twitter account was also temporarily suspended, forcing him to release a statement via his social media director Dan Scavino, saying there would be an "orderly transition".

"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," he said.

"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."

Tech giants have long struggled with balancing free speech on their platforms and a belief that the views of world leaders should be visible for scrutiny.

The main two, Facebook and Twitter, have slowly taken a tougher stance, using fact check labels last year to warn users of unverified information shared by Mr Trump.

Pressure is now on Twitter to follow Facebook's lead, having only decided to lock Mr Trump's personal account for 12 hours and threatened him with "permanent suspension" if he continues to break the rules.

A Twitter spokesperson said: "As we shared yesterday, we're continuing to evaluate the situation in real-time, including examining activity on the ground and statements made off Twitter.

"We will keep the public informed, including if further escalation in our enforcement approach is necessary."

More to follow...