As President Donald Trump continues to face accusations he incited his supporters to attempt a coup on Jan. 6, Facebook announced a new ban on the president. One day after supporters of President Trump stormed the Capitol to try to stop lawmakers from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he believes the risks are “simply too great” to continue to allow Trump to use Facebook’s services. However, considering the decision came after all the drama at the Capitol, these tweets about Facebook blocking Trump indefinitely on Jan. 7 show people think the company could and should have done it sooner. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on the decision, but did not hear back by the time of publication. Facebook declined to provide further comment beyond Zuckerberg’s statement.
In a message shared on Facebook and Twitter at 11 a.m. ET on Jan. 7, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he’d made the decision to block Trump from Facebook and Instagram in light of the attempted coup and Trump condoning rather than condemning the actions of his supporters, which he said “clearly demonstrate[s] 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.”
Zuckerberg, who said he’d made the decision to remove Trump’s Jan. 6 statements on the platforms because of their “effect” and “likely their intent” to provoke violence, enacted an indefinite ban, and at least for the next two weeks, to ensure the peaceful transfer of power on Jan. 20.
“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,” he continued.
In his statement, Zuckerberg defended allowing President Trump to use Facebook platforms over the past few years, at times “removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies.”
While Facebook’s founder argued that he originally thought the posts should be allowed in the interest of free speech. The First Amendment does not protect speech if the speaker intends to incite a violation of the law that is both imminent and likely.
Zuckerberg acknowledged a right to free speech, but said “the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.” Continuing his reasoning for the block, Zuckerberg shared, “We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”
This was not the first time President Trump was accused of inciting violence on the platform, and many took to Twitter to argue that the decision was too little, too late and likely motivated by self interest. Elite Daily reached out to Facebook for comment on criticisms leveled at the decision, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
Others argued that the timing of the announcement was suspicious and likely politically-motivated. In light of the recent shift in control of the presidency and the Senate, some critics argued that Facebook was now taking these steps to appease Democrats who will now be on the committees regulating them.
It’s not clear when or if Facebook will reinstate Trump’s Facebook and Instagram privileges. Elite Daily inquired if Facebook has set requirements for a reinstatement to happen, but Facebook did not provide comment beyond Zuckerberg’s statement. Twitter’s Jack Dorsey has yet to comment on whether his platform will be following suit, and Facebook declined to comment on whether Zuckerberg has reached out to Dorsey about the matter.
However, Twitter instituted a 12-hour Twitter ban on Trump’s account starting the night of Jan. 6, for three tweets that it said were “severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy,” including peddling unfounded election fraud claims and telling the rioters, “We love you. You’re very special,” before telling them to go home. Considering Twitter has already removed several of Trump’s Jan. 6 tweets, it wouldn’t be surprising if it follows suit in blocking President Trump’s Twitter account during the last couple weeks of his presidency.
These Tweets About Facebook Blocking Trump Indefinitely On Jan. 7 Don’t Hold Back The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Elite Daily.