Twitter suspends President Donald Trump account
President Donald Trump Twitter account has been suspended from the platform, the company said on Friday evening.
“After carefully reviewing recent tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context surrounding them, we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further inciting violence,” Twitter said.
“In the context of this week’s horrific events, we made it clear Wednesday that additional Twitter violations could potentially lead to such actions.”
Twitter’s decision followed two of Trump’s tweets on Friday afternoon that ended up being his last.
The tweets violated the company’s policy against glorifying violence, Twitter said, and “the two tweets should be read in the context of broader national events and the ways the president’s statements have been mobilized by various audiences, including to incite violence, and in the context of behavior patterns from this account in recent weeks.”
The first tweet focused on Trump supporters.
“The 75,000,000 great American patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN will have a GIANT VOTE in the future. They will not be insulted or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
The second pointed out that Trump did not plan to attend Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“To everyone who asked, I’m not going to the Jan. 20 inauguration.
Twitter said the tweet regarding the inauguration could be seen as another statement that the election was not legitimate.
It also said the tweet could be interpreted as Trump’s statement that the inauguration would be a “safe” target for violence because he would not attend the election.
Trump’s other statement about American patriots suggests that “he plans to continue to support, empower and protect those who believe he won the election,” Twitter said.
Twitter’s ban specifically addresses “the @realDonaldTrump account,” not Trump personally.
Twitter will enforce its policy against evading the ban to ensure that Trump does not circumvent the suspension of his personal account, the company told CNN.
“If it becomes clear that another account is being used to evade the ban, it is also subject to suspension,” Twitter said in a statement.
“For government accounts such as @POTUS and @WhiteHouse, we will not suspend those accounts, but will take steps to restrict their use.
However, these accounts will be turned over to the new administration in due course and will not be suspended by Twitter unless absolutely necessary to mitigate real damage.”
The Twitter policy would also prohibit Trump from directing a third party to manage the Twitter account on his behalf.
Trump tried to test Twitter’s policy of evading the ban at about 8:30 p.m. ET Friday night when he, or someone acting on his behalf, posted four tweets from his @POTUS account.
“As I have long said, Twitter has gone above and beyond in banning free speech, and tonight Twitter staff agreed with Democrats and the radical left in removing my account from their platform to silence me,” Trump tweeted.
The tweets disappeared almost instantly.
Twitter told CNN that Trump’s campaign account was also permanently banned.
Before @TeamTrump was suspended, it was seen in the same four-tweet thread that Trump tried to post from the @POTUS account.
After Twitter permanently banned the Trump campaign account, Mike Hahn, the campaign’s social media director, countered.
“We copied and pasted the White House pool report,” Hahn tweeted.
Earlier in the evening, a White House pool report was circulated that included the exact wording Trump tried to share with his @POTUS Twitter account.
A Twitter spokesman confirmed to CNN that the reason @TeamTrump was banned was because he tried to share the same language that Trump had tried to share on Twitter previously.
Khan argued that it was illogical to allow journalists to share Trump’s words, but Trump’s campaign did not.
“The serious question journalists have to ask is: If you publish exactly what the president said, will you be suspended, too? Because that’s all we did,” Hahn said.
Asked if he sees a difference between journalists writing Trump’s words and the Trump campaign repeating Trump’s words, Twitter told CNN that there is a difference.
“There’s a difference between someone who reports on the president and someone who tries to allow the president to use his account to essentially circumvent the ban,” a Twitter spokesman said.
Civil rights leaders, who have long criticized technology platforms for spreading hate speech and division, welcomed Twitter’s decision.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, called it a “great move.”
“A fitting end to the legacy of the eruption of hate and vitriol,” Greenblatt said. “President Trump incited violent riots at the Capitol using social media, and he paid the price.”
Eric Naing, a spokesman for Muslim Advocates, said Twitter is “showing real leadership.”
As Twitter notes, by allowing Trump to continue posting tweets, Facebook posts and YouTube videos to his white nationalist supporters, he risks “further inciting violence,” Naing said.
“Twitter leaders should now be monitored by Facebook and Google/YouTube.”