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Trump permanently banned from Twitter: what are the reasons?

The social media giant have announced a permanent suspension of the President's personal Twitter account, citing his support for the Capitol Hill riots and refusal to accept the election result.

Trump permanently banned from Twitter: what are the reasons?
JOSHUA ROBERTS REUTERS

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Twitter have announced that they have permanently suspended the personal account of Donald Trump, which the President had continued to use while in office. Trump’s tweeting has been controversial throughout his presidency, frequently using the platform to take aim at political rivals, spread falsehoods and threaten those who oppose him.

In a statement released by Twitter to explain the decision, they make clear that they feel that Trump’s use of the platform had caused the horrific scenes in the Capitol earlier this week that left five people dead.

The statement begins: “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Why have Twitter decided to remove Donald Trump’s account?

For years there have been calls for Twitter, and other social networking sites, to take action against Trump for his dangerous online behaviour. In recent months Twitter in particular has begun to clamp down on the President, issuing warnings alongside his post-election claims that he had been cheated out of the presidency. As his lawsuits were repeatedly dismissed in the courts, Twitter felt they had to point out that claims of electoral fraud were wholly baseless.

But the situation escalated sharply in the last few days after a pro-Trump mob marched on the Capitol and broke into both Houses of Congress in an attempt to disrupt the democratic process. Trump supporters clashed with police throughout the day and many have attributed the five tragic deaths to the President’s inciting language.

In their statement, Twitter confirmed that the decision had been informed by the Capitol Hill riots and that they had warned Trump that continuing to stoke the flames would lead to stricter measures.

In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action.”

Trump ignored final warnings from Twitter

After the chaos of Wednesday the social networking site made clear that they held the President’s language as at least partly responsible for what had occurred and took steps to punish him. His account was hit with a 12-hour suspension, during which time he was unable to post but his previous tweets remained visible, except for three that were specifically linked to events in the Capitol.

Twitter has said before that they are reluctant to impose this type of sanction on world leaders because “the people have a right to hold power to account in the open”, but they adjudged Trump to have crossed a line. Trump’s Twitter account was reinstated on Thursday evening, and he used the platform to post what appeared to be a concession speech, acknowledging that there would be a new administration and pledging to assist with the transition of power.

However he followed up the video with two tweets, which Twitter have now ruled were “highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.”

The tweets in question saw Trump announce that he would not be attending the Inauguration and mention that his supporters “will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” Both of these were seen as evidence that Trump is not committed to a normal transition of power, even after seeing the destruction caused on Wednesday.

In addition to Trump’s insistence on rallying against the election result, the Twitter statement makes reference to “plans for future armed protests [which] have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter”. With evidence that there are plans to replicate those events with a second attack on state Capitol buildings later this months, Trump has been stripped of the ability to incite his support to further violence.