Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg indefinitely blocked US President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts for “inciting violent insurrection against a democratically elected government”.
This comes after Trump supporters clashed with police and stormed the US Capitol in Washington D.C. yesterday, in a bid to disturb lawmakers from confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Four people died as a result of the riotous uprising which shocked watchers around the world.
Trump had urged protesters to march on the Capitol after making false claims of electoral fraud. Later, the President called on his supporters to “go home”, all whilst still making false claims of the election being “stolen” from them.
Zuckerberg took to Facebook to post a lengthy status detailing why Trump’s accounts got blocked.
“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,” Zuckerberg wrote.
“His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world.”
“We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect – and likely their intent – would be to provoke further violence.”
Hours after he told thousands of supporters he would refuse to concede, Trump pledged an orderly transfer of power to Biden.
Zuckerberg said that after Congress certified the election results, the US’ priority is to ensure that the remaining 13 days before Biden is sworn in as President “pass peacefully and in accordance with established democratic norms”.
“Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labelling his posts when they violate our policies. We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech,” Zuckerberg continued.
“But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically-elected government.”
Facebook had originally imposed a 24-hour ban on Trump shortly after riots started. However in his post, Zuckerberg said that this would be extended “indefinitely”.
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Zuckerberg wrote.
“Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is incomplete.”
Aside from Facebook and Instagram, Twitter has also suspended Trump’s account.