At first, Facebook had only blocked Trump for 24 hours. Now the US president is likely to end his term without accounts in the network. The suspension has been extended. The reason: Trump’s posts were too big a risk.
Facebook extends the suspension of US President Trump’s accounts. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg announced that his accounts on the online network and on the Instagram photo platform will remain blocked for at least two weeks or until power is transferred to his successor Joe Biden.
First, Facebook announced that Trump would not be able to post any more posts for 24 hours. The reason for this are violations of the guidelines of the online network in contributions to yesterday’s attack by his supporters on the Capitol.
Sympathy for attackers
This included a video in which the president called on his supporters to withdraw from the US parliament building, but at the same time repeated unsubstantiated claims about alleged election fraud. In addition, Trump showed sympathy for the attackers: “We love you. You are very special.”
In another post on the platforms, Trump wrote: “These are things and events that happen when a holy landslide victory is stolen so suddenly and meanly”. Trump’s supporters had stormed the House of Parliament in Washington while there were deliberations to confirm Joe Biden’s election victory.
Zuckerberg wrote: “The shocking events of the past twelve hours made it clear that President Donald Trump wants to use his remaining term in office to undermine the peaceful and legitimate transfer of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden.” That changes the situation for Facebook, as the platform is being misused to incite violent uprisings against a democratically elected government.
Twitter had blocked Trump because of these posts and threatened with a permanent ban for further violations of the rules. The outgoing head of state violated the rules of the online network with two contributions, said a spokesman for the Axios website.
Criticism of networks despite reaction
Observers welcomed the fact that Internet platforms are now taking action. Some accused the companies of hesitating too long in dealing with Trump and his supporters. All along, they could have spread dangerous misinformation and incited violence, which contributed to the recent escalation.
Jennifer Grygiel, a communication scholar and social media expert at Syracuse University, saw the events at the Capitol as a direct result of Trump’s use of online platforms to spread propaganda and misinformation. These tech firms should bear some responsibility for their own inaction, Grygiel said. The reactions are now too little and too late.