Following temporary locks on Donald Trump's Twitter and Facebook accounts that began Wednesday night, Facebook has escalated its crackdown on the president's lies and decided to suspend his access to the platform indefinitely.
Twitter's lock on Trump's account, which prevented him from further tweeting for 12 hours and the lifting of which was contingent on him removing tweets that were deemed as inciting violence, was set to lift Thursday morning, though it's not clear that it has. Trump hasn't tweeted yet today, and two deleted, offending tweets remain at the top of his feed hidden behind a note about their removal due to violations. Twitter had already said Wednesday night that any further infraction, or the failure to remove the tweets they said were in violations of their terms of service, would "result in the permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account."
Now Facebook, which always moves with the political winds and pretends that it doesn't, has made the *bold* move of blocking Trump from tweeting for "at least the next two weeks" pending the inauguration of Joe Biden.
"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," writes Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, in a post. "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."
Zuckerberg goes on to once again justify why the platform has been so lenient for the last four years as Trump repeatedly violated its rules, and he then says, "We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great."
The problem is that he still has a public-facing account, it has not been removed, and much of what he said yesterday and the days before that is still live on Facebook and being amplified, shared, and commented on. That includes a post that was crossposted from Twitter Wednesday condemning Vice President Trump for not doing his bidding and violating the Constitution by tossing out "fraudulent" votes and declaring him president.
The loss of his Twitter account will be the real blow. And given what a crutch and a megaphone it's been for him since even before he began campaigning for president in 2015, it is likely to drive him to distraction without his echo chamber of millions to shout-type at every day. As Kara Swisher recently suggested in the New York Times, if Twitter finally bans Trump once and for all, "He’ll rage and then head over to Parler to try to make fetch happen, which will not satisfy his enormous ego. It will all end in a whimper."
Today, following the disaster wrought by Trump's insanely stubborn ego and his ability to repeat lies ad nauseum to soothe it, Swisher writes on New York Magazine's website that Twitter and Facebook now just need to ban Trump forever.
She notes that through his "longtime social-media minion" Dan Scavino's Twitter account, Trump issued a likely disingenuous statement to placate Twitter today saying that he will "respect an orderly transition." But likening Twitter's 12-hour suspension to a child's timeout, Swisher contends that Twitter should absolutely not trust that he's going to suddenly be a good boy for the next 13 days.
"And though he lives in a permanent state of immaturity like some malevolent Baby Huey come alive, Trump is anything but that with vast levers of powers at his disposal to do some really scary things at this moment, including keeping the enragement we saw yesterday going," Swisher says. "It’s long past time to make an example of him as a persistent violator of platform rules who cynically games their laudable impulse toward allowing as much speech as possible."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, most Democrats and some Republicans in Congress are calling for the invocation of the 25th Amendment today, to remove the president from office two weeks early. In lieu of that, she says, Congress should move to impeach and remove him immediately.
But if Congress can't pull it together to make that move, can we just take the nuclear codes (and his Twitter account) away from him and send him to play golf for 13 days?
Photo: Michael Vadon/Wikimedia