Twitter has stepped in to lock President Trump's account for 12 hours and blocked access to several tweets from Wednesday citing risks of violence, and along with Facebook and YouTube they have removed a video Trump posted from the Rose Garden Wednesday afternoon.
Twitter and CEO Jack Dorsey have suggested in recent months that Trump won't have a Twitter presence after he's no longer a head of state, and today's events may have further solidified that stance. After Trump's own words incited violence and a riotous breach of the Capitol Building on Wednesday, Twitter has moved to both remove several tweets — along with the Rose Garden video in which he continued to insist the election was "stolen" — as well as at least one other tweet in which he attacked Vice President Trump, and his account has been locked for 12 hours. That means that, temporarily, he can not post any tweets, and these several tweets can't be retweeted. Still, other tweets from the last 24 hours including this one continue to be wildly amplified and retweeted — which is an argument for shutting his account down completely.
As Time reports, Twitter locked the president's account early Wednesday evening in addition to removing the video, saying that video posed a "risk of violence."
Initially Twitter only flagged the video and tweets as "disputed," as they have been doing with a large percentage of Trump's tweets for months.
In the video, Trump said he knew that rioters were feeling "pain" over the "stolen" election, but he hypocritically and disingenuously urged "calm." "You have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order,” he said. “So go home. We love you. You’re very special…I know how you feel."
Twitter left up the tweet below in which he encouraged "No violence!" and said "WE are the Party of Law & Order."
I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
In testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in November, Dorsey said — and the company reiterated this in subsequent statements — that Trump would no longer fall under the so-called "world leader exemption" from various content rules, and his account would therefore get suspended after the inauguration. Or maybe that very day.
Obviously the locking of Trump's account ought to last far longer than 12 hours — 14 days perhaps? But not being able to tweet is surely driving him nuts this evening, and the company said in a statement that if he refused to remove the offending tweets or continues to break rules, this "will result in the permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account."
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.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 7, 2021
Facebook, meanwhile, took a rare stand and joined Facebook and YouTube in removing the Rose Garden video.
Using Twitter (ironically) to explain the choice, Facebook's Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen said, "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."
Alphabet-owned YouTube also removed the video.
Update: Facebook has also locked Trump's account for 24 hours, as the New York Times reports, and locked his Instagram account as well, if he knows how to use that.