Twitter and Facebook lock President Donald Trump's accounts after Capitol unrest

10 Jan 2021

Social media platforms are taking unprecedented action on President Donald Trump's accounts, but some are also criticizing the platforms for serving as tools for helping organize the riots. CNBC's Julia Boorstin reports. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO:

Twitter and Facebook on Wednesday said they would lock the account of President Donald Trump after he continued to make false claims about the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Twitter said Trump’s account would remain locked for 12 hours after he removed the tweets that it said breached the company’s civic integrity policy.

A spokesperson for Twitter confirmed to CNBC Thursday that Trump has now removed the offending tweets, “and the 12-hour clock is on.” The company declined to provide further details on exactly when the block on Trump’s account would end, but the lock could be removed around 3 p.m. ET.

Twitter has also warned that if Trump continues to violate the company’s rules it “will result in the permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.”

Facebook said it would lock Trump’s account for 24 hours, preventing him from posting on the service. Facebook-owned Instagram is also locking Trump’s account there.

“We’ve assessed two policy violations against President Trump’s Page which will result in a 24-hour feature block, meaning he will lose the ability to post on the platform during that time,” Facebook said in a statement.

Snap told CNBC that it has locked Trump’s account because it was deeply concerned about Trump’s dangerous rhetoric.

“We can confirm that earlier today we locked President Trump’s Snapchat account,” said a Snap spokesperson on Wednesday.

It is not the first time Snap has taken action against Trump. Last June, the company decided to stop promoting Trump’s content on its “Discover” tab, meaning it would only be visible to those that subscribe to Trump or search for his content.

Twitter removed three tweets by Trump, making them no longer visible to users. This is the first time that the company has removed tweets by Trump for reasons other than copyright takedowns, the company confirmed.

Among the removed tweets was one containing a video by Trump addressing the Washington rioters. In his recorded statement, Trump falsely claimed that the election “was stolen” before asking rioters to go home.

That video was also removed by Facebook and YouTube.

“This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video,” Facebook Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen said in a tweet. “We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”

Facebook on Wednesday evening announced additional steps it would take. This includes searching for and removing content that praises or supports the storming of the Capitol, calls to bring weapons to locations around the country, photos or videos from the rioters, calls for additional protests, and any attempts to stage more violence in the coming days.

Facebook said it will update the label it places on content that attempts to delegitimize election results.

“Joe Biden has been elected President with results that were certified by all 50 states. The U.S. has laws, procedures, and established institutions to ensure the peaceful transfer of power after an election,” the updated Facebook text will read.

Google-owned YouTube said it removed the video because it violated policies of alleging widespread fraud changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Election. It will, however, allow copies of this video “if uploaded with additional context and sufficient educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic value.”

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