“ We believe the risks of allowing President Trump to continue using our service during this time are simply too great, ” the CEO of Facebook said Thursday.
Facebook Inc has taken the unprecedented decision to block U.S. President Donald Trump’s social media accounts from its platforms for the remaining 13 days of his presidency and possibly beyond, the company’s CEO said Thursday.
Facebook, which owns Instagram photo-sharing app, will also block its account there, CEO Mark Zuckerberg written in a post the day after Trump supporters entered the U.S. Capitol building in a violent and unruly crowd, forcing lawmakers to flee and the complex to be locked up for several hours.
“We believe the risks of allowing President Trump to continue using our service during this time are just too great, so we are extending the block that we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks. Zuckerberg wrote in his post explaining the decision Thursday.
Lawmakers from the Senate and House of Representatives had gathered to certify the results of the U.S. election in favor of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, but were forced to flee when protesters entered the building after being briefed by Trump at a Wednesday morning rally to travel to Capitol Hill.
At least four people died in the post-election riots on Capitol Hill Wednesday. So far, 52 people have been arrested in connection with the events on Capitol Hill, according to Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department chief Robert Contee.
The FBI also asked people to submit photos, videos, and advice identifying those who were inciting the violence that day.
Lawmakers returned to continue their work after the building was deemed safe at 8 p.m. (01:00 GMT) on Wednesday, formally certifying Biden’s victory in the wee hours of Thursday morning.
Trump has frequently used social media platforms Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to speak directly to his followers and make political decisions, unlike former US presidents.
Facebook has been criticized by lawmakers and some of its own employees in the past for how it handles presidential-related disinformation, as well as Trump’s posts containing lies.
Zuckerberg said Facebook had “given permission for President Trump to use our platform, according to our own rules, sometimes removing content or tagging its posts when they violate our policies.” We did this because we believe the public has a right to access the widest possible political discourse, however controversial.
But, Zuckerberg wrote, “the current context is now fundamentally different, involving the use of our platform to incite a violent insurgency against a democratically elected government.
The certification of election results – usually a formality – became a chaotic and violent scene on Wednesday when Trump supporters managed to cross Capitol Hill and enter the building, disrupting the vote certification process and damaging the building’s offices , as well as historical art and sculpture.
Twitter Inc also locked down the president’s account after deciding on Wednesday to delete several of its tweets that the platform deemed to be against its rules.
Trump has less than two weeks in office before Biden’s inauguration on Jan.20.
But the head of a large group of companies, the National Association of Manufacturers, urged Vice President Mike Pence Wednesday “will seriously consider working with Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to preserve democracy.” This amendment to the US Constitution allows for the removal of a sitting president if he is deemed unfit to lead.
Other industry groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, have also issued statements urging Trump to accept the election results and avoid the violence that was exposed on Wednesday.
The main American stock indices open higher Thursday, as investors looked beyond Wednesday’s chaos and towards the Biden administration, which is expected to increase the amount of coronavirus humanitarian aid to struggling businesses and families.
Wednesday’s violence on Capitol Hill followed the run-off election for two Democratic senators in Georgia, giving Biden and the Democratic Party tight control of the Senate in addition to control of the House of Representatives.