Twitter sparked major controversy Friday with its decision to ban President Trump from its platform.
Following Trump’s brief suspension after the violence that took place on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Twitter announced on Friday evening that the president will no longer be able to tweet.
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” the company wrote in a blog post.
Highlighting two relatively tame tweets from the president earlier Friday, one of which stated he would not attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, the company argued that they had to be viewed in a wider context.
“These two Tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks,” the company said. “After assessing the language in these Tweets against our Glorification of Violence policy, we have determined that these Tweets are in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy and the user @realDonaldTrump should be immediately permanently suspended from the service.”
Trump’s ban from Twitter appeared to be part of what many have referred to as a “purge” of the social media giant’s users, including former pro-Trump attorneys Lin Wood and Sidney Powell, as well as former National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn.
The last time Twitter was at the center of such a censorship firestorm was in October, when the tech giant decided to block The New York Post’s account after the newspaper broke its bombshell report on Hunter Biden’s foreign business interests during the 2020 presidential campaign.
However, Twitter’s critics are pointing out the glaring exceptions the platform appears to have made for some of the world’s most hateful and dangerous voices. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has emerged as one of the most powerful Iranian leaders of the last century and wields control over all aspects of the country’s government, military and media.
During the 1979 revolution in Iran, Khamenei preached about overthrowing the shah and resisting the United States and the western world in an effort to reaffirm Islamic values and avoid any influences that threaten to undermine his autocratic rule and the self-sufficiency of his country.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, critics have blasted Twitter for its inaction on tweets from Chinese government-controlled accounts posted by state officials and state-run media outlets that have spread disinformation about the virus and its origins.
A November tweet, for example, from the Chinese propaganda outlet “People’s Daily, China” read, “All available evidence suggests that #COVID19 did not start in central China’s Wuhan, but may come into China through imported frozen food products and their packaging: experts.”
At the time, Twitter told Fox News that it was looking into the tweet but never followed up with a response. That false tweet remains on the platform.
AND HERE IS TWITTER’S RATIONALE FOR BANNING TRUMP, IN THEIR OWN EVIL WORDS:
On January 8, 2021, President Donald J. Trump tweeted:
“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
Shortly thereafter, the President tweeted:
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Due to the ongoing tensions in the United States, and an uptick in the global conversation in regards to the people who violently stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, these two Tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks. After assessing the language in these Tweets against our Glorification of Violence policy, we have determined that these Tweets are in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy and the user @realDonaldTrump should be immediately permanently suspended from the service.
We assessed the two Tweets referenced above under our Glorification of Violence policy, which aims to prevent the glorification of violence that could inspire others to replicate violent acts and determined that they were highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
This determination is based on a number of factors, including:
– President Trump’s statement that he will not be attending the Inauguration is being received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate and is seen as him disavowing his previous claim made via two Tweets (1, 2) by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Dan Scavino, that there would be an “orderly transition” on January 20th.
– The second Tweet may also serve as encouragement to those potentially considering violent acts that the Inauguration would be a “safe” target, as he will not be attending.
– The use of the words “American Patriots” to describe some of his supporters is also being interpreted as support for those committing violent acts at the US Capitol.
– The mention of his supporters having a “GIANT VOICE long into the future” and that “They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” is being interpreted as further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an “orderly transition” and instead that he plans to continue to support, empower, and shield those who believe he won the election.
– Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021.
As such, our determination is that the two Tweets above are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so.