“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” he continued. “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.”
Shortly after Zuckerberg’s announcement, the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, tweeted that Trump had been blocked from its platform “indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks.” (Instagram is owned by Facebook.)
Twitter and other social media companies have long been criticized for not banning the president or taking harsher action against him after his repeatedly use of the platform to incite outrage and violence. The companies have previously defended leaving up Trump’s posts as they were of “the public’s interest.”
In the last year, there’s been a palpable shift as Trump’s behavior on social media has escalated. Twitter’s earliest action to curb his rhetoric came in the form of warning labels beneath certain tweets, which alerted followers if a tweet was factually inaccurate or violated rules against glorifying violence. Facebook and Instagram would later follow suit.
After the riot at the Capitol, Twitter had instituted a lock on his account for 12 hours, noting that the ban would be extended if tweets rejecting the results of the November election, and those that violated its “Civic Integrity” policy, were not deleted.
“Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of [Trump’s] account,” read a tweet on Wednesday.
The tweets had been deleted as of Thursday afternoon.
“No individual on the Earth, including no other world leader, has so frequently used social media to spread disinformation, incite violence, and undermine the democratic processes of the United States,” said Emerson Brooking, resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab and co-author of “LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media,” to USA Today Wednesday.
“It is inconceivable, once his ban is lifted, that Trump does not immediately use his account to inflict more pain,” Brooking added.