Citing the danger of inciting further acts of violence, January 8, Twitter suspended Story from US President Donald Trump – three days after calling his followers on Twitter to march to the United States Capitol building as Congress convened to certify Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
“After careful consideration of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them, we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of incitement to violence,” Twitter said.
After careful consideration of recent tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context surrounding them, we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement to violence.https://t.co/CBpE1I6j8Y
– Twitter Security (@TwitterSafety) January 8, 2021
Thousands of rioters violently stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday, forcing lawmakers to seek safety or hide under furniture. Five people died.
The move cut Trump off from his nearly 90 million subscribers on the platform. Facebook had made a similar decision, banning him from accessing his social networking site, at least for the remainder of his term, which ends Jan. 20.
It also sparked backlash from officials and world leaders. While many welcomed the move, many – among them critics of the division head – criticized the action as being politically motivated and a violation of free speech.
Here are their reactions:
Spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that Twitter’s decision to ban Trump from its platform was “problematic”, adding that freedom of opinion was “of basic importance.”
“This fundamental right can be intervened, but according to the law and within the framework defined by the legislators, not according to a decision of the management of the social media platforms,” Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin. “Seen in this light,” he said, “the chancellor considers it problematic that the accounts of the American president are now permanently blocked.”
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador lambasted the decision to ban Trump from social media sites, adding that it was a “bad sign” that private companies have the power to censor opinions.
“I don’t like anyone being censored or denied the right to post on Twitter or Facebook. I don’t agree with that, I don’t accept it, ”Lopez Obrador said at a regular press conference on Friday.
“A censorship court like the Inquisition to manage public opinion: it’s really serious,” he said.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, Russian opposition figure and Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny called the move an “unacceptable act of censorship,” adding that the decision, “based on personal political emotions and preferences “, could serve as a precedent to block freedom of expression elsewhere.
1. I think the ban on Donald Trump on Twitter is an unacceptable act of censorship (THREAD)
– Alexey Navalny (@navalny) January 9, 2021
Nikki Haley, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Trump ally, compared the move to political censorship in China.
Silencing people, let alone the President of the United States, is what is happening in China, not our country. #Unbelievable
– Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) January 8, 2021
Virginia US Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat, said the move was a “late step” in the fight against disinformation on social media.
One step late. But it’s important to remember that it’s much bigger than a single person. It is an entire ecosystem that allows disinformation and hate to spread and spread unchecked. https://t.co/wPc0AFWcgu
– Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) January 8, 2021
West Virginia US Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, also praised the action, thanking Twitter in a message.
– Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) January 8, 2021
Hillary Clinton, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully against Trump in the 2016 presidential election, shared a Tweet she wrote during the campaign calling on Trump to delete her account and simply added a check mark.
– Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 9, 2021
Donald Trump Jr
Trump’s eldest son Donald Jr has launched a series of tweets condemning the move. In his first tweet, he said that free speech “no longer exists in America”. He has since tried to get support by asking people to search for information on the donjr.com website.
Freedom of expression is under attack! Censorship is happening like never before! Don’t let them shut us up. Subscribe to https://t.co/835Eak6Ghi to stay connected!
If I am kicked out of my social platforms, I will share my thoughts and outcome with you. pic.twitter.com/bO7wbfWWVr
– Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 9, 2021