On Jan. 6, 2021, after months of listening to false claims from various lawmakers about voter fraud in the presidential election, a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an apparent attempt to thwart the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. As the situation escalated, U.S. President Donald Trump was called upon to lower the tensions in the area. While Trump addressed the rioters on social media and told them to go home, he continued to spread lies about the integrity of the election.
Twitter initially flagged the video with a label noting that Trump’s claims about election fraud were disputed. The company also limited the spread of the video as it posed a risk of inciting violence.
Shortly after they labeled this video, the company decided to remove the tweet entirely. Twitter removed two other videos posted by Trump on Jan. 6 for similar reasons.
At around 7 p.m. EST, the company announced that they were locking the president’s Twitter account for 12 hours. Twitter made the announcement in a thread that can be viewed here. The text of this thread appears below:
As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy.
This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets. If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked.
Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.
Our public interest policy — which has guided our enforcement action in this area for years — ends where we believe the risk of harm is higher and/or more severe.
We’ll continue to evaluate the situation in real time, including examining activity on the ground and statements made off Twitter. We will keep the public informed, including if further escalation in our enforcement approach is necessary.
Facebook and YouTube also deleted videos posted by the president on Jan. 6.
Facebook said that the videos removed because the president’s posts “contribute to, rather than diminish, the risk of ongoing violence.” Meanwhile, YouTube noted that the president’s content “violated our policies regarding content that alleges widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Election.”
On Jan. 8, Twitter announced that it had permanently suspended the @realDonaldTrump account “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”