UPDATED 9:47 AM PT – Thursday, January 7, 2021
Twitter has taken their censorship to a whole new level by locking the President’s personal account. On Wednesday, the social media giant announced their plan to permanently ban President Trump from the platform unless he deletes three of his tweets from January 6, which called attention to blatant voter fraud and addressed demonstrators on Capitol Hill.
— Chanel Rion OAN (@ChanelRion) January 7, 2021
In one tweet, President Trump claimed violence on Capitol Hill was backlash from a “viciously stripped away” landslide election victory. He then urged demonstrators to “go home with love and in peace,” and to remember January 6 forever.
In the final suspended tweet, the President claimed the U.S. demands the truth, adding the states had not been given a proper chance to certify legitimate election results.
The tweets have since been suspended and are unavailable for viewing. Twitter cited so-called violence liability concerns as their reason for censoring the President’s tweets despite the President’s call for supporters to peacefully disperse and respect law enforcement.
Prior to the suspension, Twitter initially sought to prevent users from liking or replying to his tweets. This is not the first time Twitter has faced controversy in the 2020 election cycle with allegations of targeted censorship against conservatives.
In a panel about Section 230 with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in attendance, Republicans pointed out the company appeared to unfairly censor the President’s tweets. Specifically, they pointed to comments that called attention to security concerns with mail-in voting and China’s handling of the coronavirus.
Dorsey went on and admitted to mass censorship in an effort to avoid liability for violence.
“As we think about enforcement, we consider severity of potential offline harm and we act as quickly as we can, he stated. “We saw the confusion it might encourage and we labeled it accordingly.”
This all comes in spite of Section 230’s protection of Twitter from being held responsible for digital content that could potentially spark violence.
In the meantime, Facebook has also moved to censor the President by locking his account for 24-hours and deleting a video. Likewise, they cited violence liability concerns despite legal exemption from being held responsible for this.
In the past, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckberberg has responded to backlash against his company’s apparent censorship.
“We do prohibit content that will lead to imminent risk of harm, stating that there’s a proven cure for COVID when there is in fact none,” he stated. “…might encourage someone to go take something that could have some adverse effects. so we do take that down.”
Though past censorship of conservatives by social media giants has been frequent, Facebook and Twitter’s recent move is alarmingly unprecedented.