Zuckerberg announces 'indefinite' ban on Trump's Facebook, Instagram accounts

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the Facebook and Instagram accounts of President Donald Trump will remain blocked for at least the next two weeks.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the Facebook and Instagram accounts of President Donald Trump will remain blocked indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks -- effectively preventing the President from posting until he leaves office.

An excerpt from Zuckerberg's statement:

Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling 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.

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.

On Wednesday, following the attack on the United States Capitol by pro-Trump extremists during a joint session of Congress to certify the election of President-elect Joe Biden, Facebook imposed a 24-hour block on the President's account, in response to incendiary posts. In a tweet, Facebook said:

We've assessed two policy violations against President Trump's Page which will result in a 24-hour feature block, meaning he will lose the ability to post on the platform during that time.

Facebook-owned Instagram also imposed a 24-hour block on Trump's official account. 

The Facebook and Instagram bans came shortly after Trump was locked out of his favorite social media platform, Twitter. The 12-hour block was announced on the @TwitterSafety account, which tweeted a series of explanations for its action against the President: "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."

It remains to be seen whether Twitter will extend the lock on Trump's account to match Facebook and Instagram. 

Meanwhile, other social networks are also making moves to curb disinformation. For instance, YouTube ended its grace period for disinformation videos, which allowed YouTube to remove videos without blocking channels from posting entirely. YouTube has now instituted a strike policy that's applied to video content that violates its community guidelines, including false claims about the election. Any channel that posts videos based on misinformation will receive a strike, temporarily preventing them from uploading new videos. 

The YouTube channel of President Donald Trump is currently blocked from posting under this strike protocol. 

Actions against Trump world are also extending beyond the realm of social media. E-commerce platform provider Shopify has removed online stores affiliated with the Trump Organization and Trump's reelection campaign. The company said in a statement that the actions of President Trump on Wednesday violated its Acceptable Use Policy. 

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