Trump’s account permanently locked from Twitter, supporter’s account gets suspended too

Twitter Inc. permanently suspends Donald Trump’s account (@realDonaldTrump), deletes his new tweets on the official government account (@POTUS) and lastly removes his presidential campaign account (@TeamTrump).

After being banned from his personal account, the U.S. President tried to get around the ban and continued to use other accounts such as the government account and his campaign account. He tweeted, “We will not be SILENCED!” from the @POTUS account which holds 33.4 million followers. Twitter said that these accounts could face permanent suspension under its “ban evasion” policies.

Agitated by the ban, he tweeted, “Twitter is not about FREE SPEECH.” This has now been deleted. He added that he is debating creating his own social media platform soon.

Trump’s presidential campaign was suspended after he released a statement on that account criticizing twitter of “banning free speech” and being an ally to “the Democrats and the Radical Left” to suppress him. Previously, this account directed its 2.3 million followers to an account on Parler which is popular with conservatives for its hands-off approach to content control. Alphabet Inc’s Google suspended Parler on 8th January 2021 citing that posts ignite violence, while Apple Inc gave the service 24 hours to submit a detailed moderation plan.

This the first time Twitter has banned a head of state, confirmed by the company. Social media companies have slowly attempted to crack down on Trump and some of his known right-wing allies and supporters. The turmoil and chaos in Washington D.C. on 6th January 2021 led to the death of 5 people; this event propelled social media companies blamed for spreading the word of the violence to take action.

Trump has repeatedly used Twitter and other platforms to claim that his defeat in the 3rd November 2020 election was due to voter fraud and other conspiracy theories. He persuaded his supporters and followers to come to Washington D.C. on 6th January 2021 and march the Capitol to protest the outcome of the elections.

In a blog post by Twitter, it said that two of the president’s tweets on 8th January 2021 were in violation of its policy against the glorification of violence. Twitter had blocked Trump’s account on 6th January 2021 following the siege of Capitol Hill. At that time, he was given a warning that further violations would lead to suspension of his account, permanently. He was required to delete three tweets that were in violation of company policy for it to be unlocked. The next day, 7th January 2021, he returned with a video admitting that Joe Biden would be the next president.

Trump said that he would not attend Biden’s inauguration, in accordance with his beliefs that the elections were rigged. His supporters viewed this as a confirmation that the November elections were illegitimate.

Another tweet praising “American Patriots” and saying Trump’s supporters “will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, the shape or form!!!” were interpreted as “further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an orderly transition.”

Major social media critics who include high-ranking Democratic politicians praised Twitter’s decision and said it was long overdue. On the other hand, Trump’s followers were outraged.

Facebook Inc said that they were suspending Trump’s account “indefinitely.” According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the ban will not be lifted before Inauguration Day.

“The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,” said Zuckerberg. “We are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.” This decision to ban Trump’s account is an unprecedented elevation in the social media platform’s approach to controlling the president’s posts.

Donald Trump Jr, in a tweet on Friday denounced the ban by saying that dictators who threatened genocide continued to have Twitter accounts while not identifying anybody in particular.

The White House has not made any direct comment. While Trump’s campaign account criticized Twitter for “silencing” the president of the United States.

Trump has admitted to owing his presidential career to social media since his win in 2016. He has used @realDonaldTrump as his personal megaphone, which has sometimes tweeted more than 100 times a day, to engage with supporters, spread wrong information and even fire staff.

In an interview on Fox Business in 2017, Trump said, “I doubt I would be here if it weren’t for social media, to be honest with you.”

Trump has received special privileges from Facebook and Twitter due to being a world leader. Although his tweets have violated company policy, they weren’t removed on account of being in the public interest. These privileges have been terminated on leaving office.

Since last year, Twitter has been labelling and putting warnings on Trump’s tweet that broke their norms against glorifying violence, manipulated media or sharing potentially misleading information about voting processes.

President Donald Trump of the Republic party is due to hand over to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden on 20th January 2021.

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