As the riot at the U.S. capitol incited by Donald Trump continues — and soon after Trump posted a video in which he lied about the 2020 election and praised rioters — calls are growing from many high profile users for Twitter, and Facebook, to finally delete the president’s accounts.
(UPDATE: Twitter has locked the president’s account for 12 hours.)
Early Twitter investor Chris Sacca, for instance, tweeted, “You’ve got blood on your hands, @jack and Zuck. For four years you’ve rationalized this terror. Inciting violent treason is not a free speech exercise. If you work at those companies, it’s on you too. Shut it down.”
Kara Swisher, a prominent tech journalist, tagged Twitter top brass in a post that said, “Let me say in no uncertain terms @jack @vijaya @kayvz: If you do not suspend Donald Trump’s Twitter account for the next day at least, this mob attack on Congress is also on you. Sorry, but he has incited violence for days, using your tools in large part and you need to act now.”
Other calls for Twitter — and Facebook — to deactivate Trump’s accounts came from the likes of actors Sacha Baron Cohen, Josh Gad and John Leguizamo, as well as former ESPN and MSNBC host Keith Olbermann,
Reached for comment by TheWrap, a Twitter spokesperson said, “In regards to the ongoing situation in Washington, DC, Twitter’s Trust & Safety teams are working to protect the public conversation occurring on the service and will take action on any content that violates the Twitter Rules.”
The Twitter representative went on, “Let us be clear: Threats of and calls to violence have no place on Twitter, and we will enforce our policies accordingly.”
A spokesperson for Facebook did not return a request for comment.
Trump incited the riot Wednesday morning when he made an appearance at the so-called “Save America” rally in Washington, held in protest of Joe Biden’s overwhelming victory in November. Trump told attendees “we will never concede,” lied that Vice President Mike Pence has the power to overturn the election (he does not), and continually advanced falsehoods about election fraud while urging his supporters not to “take it.” Trump then exhorted supporters to march to the Capitol to “give our Republicans the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”
His supporters did just that, eventually breaking past police — there is of course evidence Capitol Police simply let them in — and storming the Capitol building, forcing members of congress to evacuate. Some even brought explosive devices with them. Since then the rioters, who Biden aptly described as “bordering on sedition,” have vandalized the premises and stolen items from it. They continued to occupy the building until just before 5:00 p.m. ET. Almost no arrests have taken place.
After several hours of this, and only after President-Elect Biden demanded that Trump do something, Trump tweeted a video of himself ostensibly urging rioters to stop their insurrection attempt. However, he began the video by flat-out lying that he won the 2020 election by a “landslide,” continued to advance his thoroughly baselessly claim that President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was the result of widespread voter fraud, and specifically told rioters that he loved them and that they are “very special people.”
Twitter made the video post impossible to retweet, like or comment on, adding a label that said Trump’s “claim of election fraud is disputed” and the tweet carried “a risk of violence.”
Actress Ilana Glazer tagged Twitter and CEO Jack Dorsey when she asked, “How are you keeping his video on this platform?” She said the video was “dangerous” and created violence before calling Twitter’s decision-makers “accomplices.”
Facebook for its part has deleted the video. “This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video. We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of Integrity said in a statement.