Twitter has unblocked US President Trump’s account. On Facebook and Instagram, however, he remains blocked for another two weeks. The reason: Trump’s posts were too big a risk.
The outgoing US President Donald Trump has access to his most important communication channel again: The short message service Twitter announced that the lock on Trump’s account has been lifted. However, Twitter will continue to evaluate Trump’s activities and statements “in real time,” added the company.
In view of the riot at the seat of the US Congress on Wednesday, Twitter blocked the account of the president who was voted out for twelve hours. This was triggered by three notifications with alleged misinformation about the presidential election in November. Twitter justified the drastic intervention with “repeated and serious” violations of Trump against the guidelines of the company in the fight against false information.
Facebook banned for two weeks
Facebook, on the other hand, extended the suspension of Trump’s accounts. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg announced that his accounts on the online network and on the Instagram photo platform are to remain blocked for at least two weeks or until power is handed over 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 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, since the platform is being used 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.