Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts have been blocked indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks after his supporters stormed the US Capitol on Thursday. “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,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said today.
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, 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,” Mr Zuckerberg said in a post on his Facebook page.
Twitter has also removed several tweets by Trump that repeated his numerous false claims about fraud and other impropriety in the election he lost to Joe Biden.
“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,” Mr Zuckerberg said.
“Following the certification of the election results by Congress, the priority for the whole country must now be to ensure that the remaining 13 days and the days after inauguration pass peacefully and in accordance with established democratic norms,” the Facebook CEO said.
“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. But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government,” Mr Zuckerberg said.
Hours after the mob violence at the Capitol, the US Congress formally certified Joe Biden as the next President, dealing a hammer blow to Trump. Lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives successfully beat back Republican efforts to deny Biden the electoral votes needed to win, prompting loud cheers when the certification was announced.
The affirmation of Biden’s 306-232 victory over Trump in November essentially closes the door on the unparalleled and deeply controversial effort by Trump and his loyalists to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
During the mob violence in the Capitol, police said that one woman from southern California was shot and killed and that three other people died in the area in circumstances that were unclear.
With inputs from AFP