President Donald Trump’s personal Twitter account, @realdonaldtrump, has been permanently suspended, Twitter announced Friday afternoon. The social media giant said that the unprecedented move was made “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
Twitter previously took action against the president’s account on Wednesday. After a pro-Trump rally devolved into chaos in Washington D.C., Twitter deleted three of Trump’s tweets for the first time, and then locked his account. The account was later reactivated and President Trump shared a video message on Thursday, in which he said that his “focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power.”
Citing two tweets posted by Trump earlier on Friday, Twitter explained their final decision in a statement, saying, “… 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.” Read the full statement here.
“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!!!” one Trump tweet read.
In another tweet, Trump wrote, “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Twitter’s decision is particularly momentous because, for better or worse, tweeting has been one of Trump’s preferred ways of communication with the American people. Twitter’s platform allowed Trump to skirt the media spin and share his unfiltered thoughts directly with his roughly 88 million followers.
The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., denounced the decision in a tweet Friday. “We are living Orwell’s 1984. Free-speech no longer exists in America. It died with big tech and what’s left is only there for a chosen few. This is absolute insanity!” Trump Jr. tweeted.
Former Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders noted, “Big Tech censorship won’t heal America. It will only make them more powerful and our people less free.”
Facebook suspends Trump through term end
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg has also suspended the president’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, saying the block will remain until “at least” January 20, when Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is set to be sworn in.
In a statement posted Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg explained:
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.
The real problem
It’s not just conservatives who should be worried about Big Tech’s recent moves to limit free speech, as at least one Hollywood actress pointed out. “This gives Facebook/tech/Zuck THE MOST POWER. If he can shut the president up/off he can shut any of us up/off,” Emily Ratajakowski tweeted on Thursday, making sure to clarify that her concern was for “‘leftist extremists’ who are important political organizers.”
Trump’s foes have been urging Twitter to shut down his account for years, and now Big Tech is taking action like it never dared before. Today, it’s Trump. Who’s to say where it ends? It’s time for all Americans to rethink their dependence on Silicon Valley.