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Twitter Bans Trump, Others, Citing Risk of Violent Incitement

Twitter banned President Donald Trump’s account Friday, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence.”The social platform has been under growing pressure to take further action against Trump following Wednesday’s deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.Later Friday night, the president responded in a tweet on the official @potus account. Trump said Twitter’s action was predictable and that he was working with other sites to build a platform where he and his followers would not be silenced.The official account for the President of the United States, @potus, remains live.Twitter initially suspended Trump’s account for 12 hours after he posted a video that repeated false claims about election fraud and praised the rioters who stormed the Capitol.Twitter’s move deprives Trump of a potent tool he has used to communicate directly with the American people for more than a decade. He has used Twitter to announce policy changes, challenge opponents, insult enemies, praise his allies and himself — and to spread misinformation, flirt with inciting violence and denounce targets of his ire in capital letters.After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.https://t.co/CBpE1I6j8Y— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 8, 2021The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The official account for the President of the United States, @potus, remains live.Twitter has long given Trump and other world leaders broad exemptions from its rules against personal attacks, hate speech and other behaviors. But in a detailed explanation posted on its blog Friday, the company said recent Trump tweets amounted to glorification of violence when read in the context of the Capitol riot and plans circulating online for future armed protests around the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.In those tweets, Trump stated that he would not be attending the inauguration and referred to his supporters as “American Patriots,” saying they would have “a GIANT VOICE long into the future.” Twitter said these statements “are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021” and “there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so.”The company said that “plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the U.S. Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021.”Twitter said its policy enables world leaders to speak to the public, but that these accounts “are not above our rules entirely” and that these leaders cannot use Twitter to incite violence. Trump had roughly 89 million followers.Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, on Thursday suspended Trump’s account for at least two weeks, and possibly indefinitely.On Friday, the company permanently banned two Trump loyalists — former national security adviser Michael Flynn and attorney Sidney Powell — as part of a broader purge of accounts promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory. Twitter said it would take action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm.”Given the renewed potential for violence surrounding this type of behavior in the coming days, we will permanently suspend accounts that are solely dedicated to sharing QAnon content,” Twitter said in an emailed statement. The company also said Trump attorney Lin Wood was permanently suspended Tuesday for violating its rules but provided no additional details.

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