Trump banned from Twitter permanently

Twitter has permanently suspended the account of US President Donald Trump, citing the “risk of further incitement of violence” following a riot at the Capitol that left a police officer dead.

Jan 09, 2021, updated Jan 09, 2021
Former President Donald Trump. (Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Former President Donald Trump. (Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In a statement, released just one day after the President’s account was reinstated following a 12-hour freeze, the social media giant said it had undertaken a close review of Mr Trump’s tweets, “specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter”.

“In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action,” the statement said, noting that “the people have a right to hold power to account in the open”.

“However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things.”

The platform cited two tweets posted by Trump on January 8, which it said “must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilised by different audiences, including to incite violence”.

In one, the President wrote the “great American patriots” who voted for him “will have a giant voice long into the future”, adding “they will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form”.

It was followed by a second tweet shortly thereafter, in which Trump said he would not attend the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden on January 20.

Twitter Safety said it had determined the tweets were in violation of its glorification of violence policy, opting to permanently suspend the President from its service.

“President Trump’s statement that he will not be attending the inauguration is being received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate and is seen as him disavowing his previous claim made via two Tweets … that there would be an ‘orderly transition’ on January 20th,” the statement said.

“The second Tweet may also serve as encouragement to those potentially considering violent acts that the inauguration would be a ‘safe’ target, as he will not be attending.”

The decision follows calls by senior Democrats to have Mr Trump removed from office over his supporters’ violent occupation of the US Capitol.

The President, who later referred those responsible as “very special” and continued to repeat baseless claims about election fraud, has been widely accused of inciting the violence, including by members of his own party.

Five people died in the riot, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, whose death is now the subject of a homicide investigation.

Addressing Trump’s latest tweets, the tech giant said the use of the words “American patriots” to describe some of his supporters “is being interpreted as support for those committing violent acts at the US Capitol”.

“The mention of his supporters having a ‘GIANT VOICE long into the future’ and that ‘They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!’ is being interpreted as further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an ‘orderly transition’ and instead that he plans to continue to support, empower, and shield those who believe he won the election,” the statement said.

Trump still has access to the official @WhiteHouse and @POTUS Twitter accounts but will lose this when his presidential term ends.

Asked if Trump could create another account, a Twitter spokeswoman said if the company had reason to believe he was using accounts to evade Friday’s suspension, those accounts too could be suspended.

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