After the terrible events of January 6, 2021 in Washington DC, Facebook decided to act very decisively. Through the voice of Mark Zuckerberg himself, the social network announces that Donald Trump’s account will be blocked at least until the end of the month.
We believe that the risk that President Trump will continue to use our service during this period is just too great. Therefore, we are extending the block that we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks. pic.twitter.com/JkyGOTYB1Z
– Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) January 7, 2021
“We believe the risk that the president will continue to use our ministry during this time is just too great. We are therefore extending the suspension that we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transfer of power is complete, ”the CEO writes. Indeed, the outgoing president encouraged his followers to invade the Capitol, the symbol of Congress for American democracy, while MPs were about to confirm the election of Joe Biden.
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What role did social networks play in the capture of the Capitol?
During the uprising, the largest American social networks took very strong measures against Donald Trump. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram have blocked the president’s account so that he can no longer add fuel to the fire. Since then, Snapchat has announced that this restriction will be permanent.
For several months, the president has been in conflict with social networks, which he accuses of censorship against him. The latter, and in particular Twitter, have indeed reported several times on their publications. For its part, Facebook was preparing for Trump to contest the elections as early as August and had taken steps to prevent the spread of false information about it. Some of his posts, especially those related to the Covid-19, have also been flagged by the social network. However, Mark Zuckerberg was targeted by his staff for his position during demonstrations by the Black Lives Matter movement. At this point, Facebook’s CEO refused to intervene after a controversial post from the president. For Zuckerberg, however, the current context is too serious not to act:
“Over the past few years we have allowed President Trump to use our platform on our own terms, sometimes removing content or flagging his posts if it violates our guidelines. We did this because we believe that the public has the right to have the broadest possible access to political discourse, even if it is controversial. However, the current context is fundamentally different and includes using our platform to spark a violent uprising against a democratically elected government. “
It remains to be seen whether Donald Trump can resume his Facebook and Instagram activities after leaving the White House. This is already the case on Twitter, as he posted a video condemning the violence committed by people entering the Capitol.