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Trump effectively silenced as two Big Tech platforms block him until at least inauguration

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has blacklisted President Trump on Facebook and Instagram and he will be blocked “indefinitely.” Zuckerberg indicated that meant for at least the next two weeks before Inauguration Day when President-elect Biden will be sworn in. Facebook and Twitter had already banned Trump’s accounts for 24 hours following a violent protest on Capitol Hill Wednesday that ended in one Trump-supporter being shot to death by police.

“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Zuckerberg said in a statement Thursday. “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.”

Zuckerberg seemingly reversed course after telling Fox News that Trump would regain access to his Facebook account Thursday night after he was temporarily suspended due to policy violations.

The initial suspension occurred after the president posted a video telling protesters who stormed the Capitol Building to “go home,” while maintaining that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him.

Zuckerberg said that 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.”

“His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect — and likely their intent — would be to provoke further violence.”

Zuckerberg went on to say that the “priority for the whole country must now be to ensure that the remaining 13 days and the days after inauguration pass peacefully and in accordance with established democratic norms.”

“Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies,” he continued. “We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech.”

He continued: “But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.”

Facebook first flagged the video, and then removed it altogether, before locking the president’s account due to “two policy violations.” Trump lost the ability to post on Facebook during the “feature block.”

In Trump’s video, addressing supporters, he said: “I know your pain, I know your hurt.”

“We had an election that was stolen from us,” Trump said in the videotaped message from the White House. “It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side.”

He added: “But you have to go home now. We have to have peace, we have to have law and order we have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anyone hurt.”

The president went on to say that it is a “very tough period of time — there has never been a time like this where such a thing happened, where they could take it away from all of us — from me, from you, from our country.”

“This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people,” Trump stated. “We have to have peace.”

Trump added: “So go home, we love you, you’re very special, you’ve seen what happens, you’ve seen the way others are treated that are so bad, so evil. I know how you feel.”

“But go home and go home in peace,” he said.

Facebook Vice President Guy Rosen initially said: “This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video. We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”

Facebook labeled the post saying: “Joe Biden has been elected President with results that were certified by all 50 states. The US has laws, procedures, and established institutions to ensure the peaceful transfer of power after an election.” The company later removed the post altogether.

Twitter also removed the video, and locked the president’s account, but went a step further, warning him that further violations of their rules would result in a “permanent suspension” from the platform. Instagram followed suit.

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