Twitter, Facebook Lock Donald Trump’s Accounts for Policy Violations

Twitter says president will be permanently suspended if he breaks rules again

Donald Trump - Section 230

UPDATED: Twitter on Wednesday said President Trump’s account would remain locked for 12 hours, following the removal of three tweets that represented “repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy.”

Facebook subsequently said it was freezing Trump’s page on the social network for 24 hours. “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 PR team said in a tweet. Instagram also will suspend Trump’s ability to post for 24 hours, per Instagram head Adam Mosseri.

[On Thursday, Snap confirmed that it also locked Trump’s Snapchat account, blocking him from posting on the app, for an indefinite period of time.]

Twitter said that if the offending tweets are not removed, Trump’s account will remain disabled. The company also warned that @realDonaldTrump would be permanently suspended if his account violated rules in the future.

“As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy,” the Twitter Safety team said in a thread.

The Twitter Safety team added, “Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.”

Twitter did not specify the Trump tweets in question. One of the tweets evidently was Trump’s video message to rioters in Washington, D.C., in which he told them to go home — but in which he also said “We love you, you’re very special” and repeated baseless assertions that the U.S. presidential election was fraudulent. That tweet is no longer available.

Facebook and YouTube removed the same video posted by Trump, with Facebook citing the risk of increased violence and YouTube saying the content violated its ban on election misinformation. Previously, Twitter blocked users from retweeting, liking or commenting on on the tweet “due to a risk of violence.”

In another Trump tweet, which also is no longer available, he said, “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!” A third Trump tweet from earlier Wednesday that’s now gone said, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”

Trump, who currently has 88.7 million Twitter followers on his personal account and 35 million on Facebook, has routinely lashed out at internet platforms for “censorship.”

In the waning days of his presidency, Trump has made the repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act a pet issue as he has grown increasingly frustrated with the likes of Twitter and Facebook fact-checking his social media posts.

Section 230 grants internet companies legal protections for content shared on their services and allows them to moderate content on their services as they see fit. Trump vetoed a defense spending bill (which Congress overrode) in part over his demand that a repeal of Section 230 be included in it. The president also delayed signing the COVID-19 relief bill last month, as he pressed for payouts to Americans be increased to $2,000 — and called for the revocation of Section 230.