Since the unprecedented assault on the United States Capitol there has been a tremendous silence on the social network Twitter. And is that the account of Donald Trump, one of its most active users and with the most followers, is blocked. The president of the world’s greatest power blocked as a vulgar crook by the Internet giants. Another unprecedented moment that the last 24 hours leave us.
The company, which has long included warnings about Trump’s false accusations of electoral fraud, suspended the account in an unprecedented decision, after Trump repeated these accusations, supporting the mob that took the Capitol in a video that already has been withdrawn.
He later posted a message of support for the protesters again and this was the final straw for Twitter.
As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, DC, we have required the removal of three tweets from @realDonaldTrump that were posted today for repeated and serious violations of our Civic Integrity policy.
The company specified that this means that Trump’s account is blocked for 12 hours until the indicated tweets are deleted. If they are not deleted, the account will remain blocked. If Trump repeats, he will be permanently eliminated.
Trump’s latest announcement, in which he acknowledges defeat – in his own way – and promises a smooth transition, is posted on his spokesperson account.
Facebook and Instagram also decided to block Trump’s accounts for 24 hours for “two violations of their policies.” The White House did not react to any of these suspensions, conscious of having exceeded various limits.
Although some on social networks celebrated the decision of Facebook and Twitter, others recalled that these platforms have allowed Trump and his followers to spread false information and propaganda that reached its climax this Wednesday with the invasion of the Capitol.
Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University communications professor and social media expert, said Wednesday’s events in Washington, DC are a direct result of Trump’s use of social media to spread propaganda and misinformation, and that platforms should bear some responsibility for their inaction.
“This is what happens,” Grygiel said. “We didn’t just see the Capitol rape. Social media platforms have been raped by the president repeatedly. This is disinformation. This was an attempted coup in the United States.”
Grygiel said the platform’s decision to remove the video – and the suspension of Twitter – is too little, too late.
“They are crawling into firmer action,” Grygiel said, calling Trump the perfect sign that more regulation of social media is needed. “Social media is complicit in this because it has repeatedly used social media to incite violence. It is the culmination of years of propaganda and abuse of the media by the President of the United States.”
YouTube also promised to delete Donald Trump’s video although it has not suspended his account.
Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, said on Twitter Wednesday that the video was removed because it “contributes to, rather than diminishes, the risk of continuing violence.”
“This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing the video of President Trump,” Rosen said on Twitter.
Twitter originally left the video but blocked people from being able to tweet or comment on it again. Later that day the platform deleted it completely.
“The President has promoted sedition and incited violence,” Jonathan Greenblatt, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement. “More than anything, what is happening on Capitol Hill right now is a direct result of the fear and misinformation that has been constantly spreading from the Oval Office.”