Twitter / Screenshot by NPR
Twitter has suspended President Trump from Twitter because of a pattern of behavior that violates company rules.
“After a careful review of recent tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them ̵
Officials on Twitter said elected officials and world leaders were encouraged to speak freely on the platform.
“However,” Twitter said. “We have made it clear in the past years that these accounts do not fully exceed our policies and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things. We will continue to be transparent about our policies and their implementation.”
Trump’s Twitter account, which had more than 88 million followers, was removed after the company’s warning that the president would happen if he did not stop abusing the platform, including his attempts to sabotage the November election results by spreading false allegations. .
The move is a stunning drop in grace for Trump, who brought together a massive national group, thanks in large part to the fruitful use of his Twitter feed. The platform was his preferred tool for announcing major changes in federal policy – and even staff changes. Sometimes he fired secretaries and cabinet assistants by tweeting.
He prided himself on his ability to tour the mass media and drive cable news with tweets that he compared to a “rocket ship.”
“I call Twitter a typewriter,” Trump said ahead of a 2019 White House summit with right-wing social media provocateurs.
“I’m going, ‘Watch this.’ Boom. “I press it in two seconds,” we have breaking news, “he said.
But Trump is using his Twitter account to do more: he routinely humiliates, attacks and threatens his rivals. Researchers say Trump’s tweets are fueling lies about protesters of racial justice, coronavirus and elections, among many other topics.
Inspired and encouraged by the president’s rhetoric – on and off social media – thousands of rebels stormed the Capitol on Wednesday. This was a turning point for Twitter, but initially suspended the president’s permanent ban and instead restricted his access for several hours.
White House officials did not respond immediately to requests for comment. Jason Miller, who was Trump’s chief adviser during his campaign, called the ban “disgusting” and said Big Tech wanted to “repeal” the 75 million people who voted for Trump.
“If you don’t think the next one will come for you, you’re wrong,” Miller said on Twitter.
Twitter’s decision on Friday comes after Facebook and Instagram banned Trump for at least two weeks. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said allowing the president to continue using the platform during the presidential transition poses a risk that is “just too great.”
Researchers studying the spread of conspiracies online say the chaos that unfolded on the Capitol could have been avoided if major social media platforms had done more to suppress baseless allegations of electoral fraud.
For months, platforms have been alerted to potential dangers in the real world, such as political violence, that can arise when election lies escalate on social media, said Ryan Kahlo, a professor of cyber law at the University of Washington.
“I am disappointed,” Kahlo said during a briefing with the Electoral Partnership for Integrity, a coalition of disinformation experts. “What a pass the platforms are getting when they say they didn’t realize it was possible. I think they knew specifically. And I’m amazed that a literal uprising is needed to even pause this demagoguery on their platforms.”
Trump still has access to official White House accounts while in office, such as @POTUS and @WhiteHouse, but his access to those accounts ends on January 20, the first day of Joe Biden’s presidency.
The latest tweet from @realDonaldTrump, posted on Friday, read: “To all who have asked, I will not go to the opening on January 20.”
Some Trump supporters saw the announcement “as further confirmation that the election is not legitimate,” the statement said. This can also be interpreted as a waiver of promises made by Trump officials to have an orderly transition on Acting Day, the company added.
Editor’s note: Facebook is among the financial supporters of NPR.