Facebook has announced it has blocked President Trump on its platforms, including Instagram, indefinitely or at best until the end of his term in two weeks time following the violent protests by his supporters at the Capitol Hill on Wednesday Wednesday January 6.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on Thursday, January 7, that he gave the order after seeing that Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to ferment violence.
“The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,” Mr. Zuckerberg wrote.
“We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” he said. “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. Zuckerberg has repeatedly said he did not want Facebook to be “the arbiter of truth” in political discourse and that he believed strongly in protecting speech across Facebook.
“We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in his note on Thursday morning.
“The current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.
Facebook had previously said it would suspend Mr. Trump’s account for 24 hours after several of Trump’s posts on Wednesday appeared to stoke the violence in the Capitol.
Trump was also suspended from Twitter, which locked his account for 12 hours and required him to delete three tweets that the company said could incite violence in order to regain access.
The unprecedented decisions from Twitter and Facebook come after the social media companies have for years allowed Trump to violate their policies.
Recently, Twitter and Facebook had begun to push back on the president’s posts, adding fact-checking labels to some of his statements.
The suspension by Facebook and Twitter could affect his outreay.
Trump has more than 88 million followers on Twitter and 35 million followers on Facebook.