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Facebook, Instagram extend Trump ban until Jan. 20 and perhaps ‘indefinitely’

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Jan 07, 2021 9:49 pm

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has released a statement saying Facebook and Instagram are extending the block they have placed on US President Donald Trump’s accounts “indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”

After the violent insurection by Trump supporters at the US Capitol on Dec. 6 (US time), which resulted in four deaths, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram locked Trump’s accounts for 12 and 24 hours, respectively.

YouTube took down one of Trump’s videos yesterday but hasn’t taken any other action on his account.The Amazon-owned streaming service Twitch also disabled Trump’s account yesterday, though it wasn’t a full ban.

The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate 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 said on his Facebook page.

“His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world. We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect—and likely their intent—would be to provoke further violence.

“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.”

Trump has been using social media—Twitter, especially—to attack critics and fire Cabinet members such as Jeff Sessions, Trump’s first Attorney General; to fire up his supporters based on unsubstantiated claims; to spread lies and conspiracy theories by racist groups.

The social media platforms have been criticized for letting Trump do these and it wasn’t only until the US Capitol mob attack that they have taken such actions.

“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,” Zuckerberg said.

“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.”

US politicians and netizens are expressing support for the ban and urging Zuckerberg to make it permanent while his supporters are criticizing the ban as censorship. Many more are saying this should have been done years earlier and that it’s the tech giants’ way of washing their hands of the Capitol attack.

Senator Manchin of West Virginia urged Twitter founder Jack Dorsey to do the same “in the interest of public safety.”

Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen said, “Facebook and Twitter giving Trump a little time out is NOT ENOUGH. Trump instigated an act of domestic terrorism against America. Facebook and Twitter have banned other extremists PERMANENTLY. They must ban Trump PERMANENTLY. NOW!”

Late-night hosts have also weighed in. Stephen Colbert said, “Haven’t you had enough?” Jimmy Fallon said, “This is what happens when there is no peaceful transition of power.”